Hobart Hurricanes 5 for 162 (Short 64, Abbott 2-29) beat Sydney Sixers 8 for 161 (Hughes 61, Botha 3-22) by five wickets
Not even out-of-control bushfires in Hobart could stop the Hurricanes from claiming a fifth straight win after another perfectly executed chase, this time over the Sydney Sixers at Bellerive Oval. D'Arcy Short made an outstanding 64 off 42 balls and George Bailey a stunning 30 from 17 balls to get the Hurricanes to the line, before Simon Milenko and James Faulkner finished the job with one ball to spare.
Short become the second-fastest player to 1000 BBL runs, reaching the milestone in 24 innings, just two shy of Shaun Marsh's record of 22. He looked set to finish the chase himself but was undone by superb yorker from Sean Abbott, who tried his best to keep his side in the game with two key wickets. But Bailey and Milenko struck three sixes between them in the last five overs to see the Hurricanes home.
Earlier, Daniel Hughes had made a superb 61 to underpin the Sixers' underwhelming total of 8 for 161. The Sixers were undone by an excellent spell from Johan Botha, who took 3 for 22 from four overs, including two wickets in the Powerplay. Hughes and Moises Henriques reclaimed momentum before Henriques was brilliantly run out by Short and Hughes fell to Botha.
Botha's back-to-back strikes
The Hurricanes' captain Matthew Wade has been very flexible with his bowling changes in the Powerplays throughout the tournament. Through four games no bowler had bowled a two-over spell in the Powerplay, although a couple had bowled two one-over spells. After the first two overs of the innings cost 17, Wade turned to Botha. Joe Denly was clean bowled by a ball that didn't turn and Botha conceded just a single from the over, so Wade left him on. Botha then had Justin Avendano caught behind with the first ball of his next over. He took 2 for 8 in the Powerplay as the Sixers' momentum stalled at 2 for 45.
Henriques caught Short
Hughes and Henriques put together an excellent 67-run stand for the third wicket. Overs seven to 11 are normally among the lowest scoring of any T20 innings. But the pair took 37 from those four overs with some outstanding striking. They threatened to build a huge total before Henriques was undone by some brilliant fielding. When he missed a slog-sweep off Short, Wade fumbled behind the stumps and the ball bounced away from him. Hughes called Henriques through for a bye. Wade quickly zipped out to gather and throw at the non-striker's end but the throw was well wide of the stumps. Short moved to his right, gathered the awkward throw and backhanded it onto the stumps to beat Henriques. The Sixers innings struggled from there. Wade brought back Botha to get Hughes while Jordan Silk had a rare failure miscuing a James Faulkner slower ball to cover. Faulkner took two wickets in the final over of the innings to finish with 3 for 36 but did concede a six and a four as the Sixers posted 161.
The catch that wasn't
After Wade fell for just 15 early in the chase, all eyes turned to Short. He was restrained in the Powerplay reaching 23 off 18 balls as the Hurricanes made 1 for 43 from the first six overs. Short opened up his shoulders in the seventh over off Steve O'Keefe and hit him to deep midwicket. The Sixers' best fielder Jordan Silk was stationed in the hot spot. Silk took the catch cleanly while tight walking the rope. His momentum took his third step over the rope and he threw the ball to team-mate Sean Abbott close by, but didn't get the throw away before his foot hit the ground outside the rope.
Short survived and added six to his total. He went onto hit two more sixes on his way to 64 from 42 balls to take control of the chase. Alex Doolan was also dropped on 9 in the next over by Josh Philippe, grassing a straight-forward skier, and he went on to make an important 26. Sean Abbott pulled the game back knocking over both Doolan and Short, the latter clean bowled by a sensational yorker. But the equation was a manageable 51 from 35 balls with seven wickets in hand.
Abbott conceded just four runs from the 15thover as Bailey faced two dots in his first three balls. Henriques then gambled with the part-time legspin of Joe Denly in the 16th, figuring the ball spinning away from the right-handers was a better match-up than Ben Manenti's offspin. However, the plan backfired. Bailey and Ben McDermott took 16 from the over.
McDermott fell in the next over but Bailey found the rope again off O'Keefe. With 19 runs needed from the last two overs, Henriques turned to Abbott. He missed with two attempted yorkers and Bailey and Simon Milenko dispatched both length balls for six and the game was effectively over. Bailey fell to a great catch by Henriques in the last over but Milenko and Faulkner managed to find the remaining five runs.