Sydney Sixers 2 for 137 (Philippe 81*, Jordan 2-13) beat Perth Scorchers 131 (Green 36, Curran 3-32) by 8 wickets
A dazzling innings from Josh Philippe backed up a disciplined Sydney Sixers bowling display as the home side thrashed the Perth Scorchers at the SCG. Philippe pummelled 81 not out from 44 balls with 11 fours and three sixes against the side who had chased his signature during the off-season, proving why he is such a sought-after T20 commodity despite a modest season to date in the other two formats for Western Australia.
He made like work of the Scorchers' under-par total, mowing it down with five overs to spare, bringing up the winning runs with a six onto the roof of the famous SCG Ladies Pavilion. The Scorchers had earlier imploded in the powerplay losing 4 for 29 on a good batting surface through a combination of poor decision making from both the batsman and the umpires. The Sixers bowlers were disciplined and gave up very few boundary balls as the Scorchers struggled to even pick up ones and twos on a slow outfield that had been heavily top-dressed with sand.
No DRS triggers disastrous start for the Scorchers
The lack of DRS in the BBL has been a talking point already this season. The debate will rage further after the Scorchers' England import Liam Livingstone fell lbw in the opening over to Ben Dwarshuis. Replays showed the ball clearly pitched outside leg and would have been overturned if DRS was available. It triggered a collapse where the Scorchers' new top order lost four wickets in the powerplay. They paid the price for being too aggressive too early. Cameron Bancroft was stumped running past a leg-side wide from Steve O'Keefe in the second over, aided by some impressive glove work from Philippe. Josh Inglis survived an easy dropped chance at backward point by Jordan Silk but then holed out off Tom Curran. The Scorchers capped off a shocking powerplay when Ashton Turner ran himself out trying to pinch a second run.
The innings was salvaged first by a steady 58-run stand between Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Green before a freakish cameo from Fawad Ahmed. Marsh, once Australia's great hope as an international allrounder, was clearly hampered in his first game back from a serious hand injury and was overshadowed by Australia's next great hope in Green. The 20-year-old looked the senior pro in the partnership. His striking, placement and control was excellent on the poor outfield before he fell miscuing a high full toss from Ben Manenti to the long boundary. Marsh was far less fluent and found long-on with 27 balls left in the innings for 32 from 33 balls. The Scorchers looked unlikely to reach 120 at one stage. Enter Fawad at No.11, on debut for the Scorchers with a highest score of 5 not out in 88 T20 matches. He was dropped at long-on in the penultimate over before climbing into Curran in the last. He slapped a high full toss over long-on for his first career T20 six and then planted the following free hit over the sightscreen to double his tally. He then carved an attempted yorker over mid-off for another boundary before being caught off the last ball of the innings for 19 off 9 to lift the total to 131.
Philippe proves a point
Philippe picked up where he left off from last year's semi-final although this innings had some extra impetus. Philippe has endured a tough start to the season with Western Australia. He was dropped from the Sheffield Shield team and the 50-over Marsh Cup side, also missing out on the winning final. The Scorchers had hoped to lure him home to WA over the off-season given the connection between the WA and Scorchers program, but he elected to stay with the Sixers and he made the Scorchers pay.
The Scorchers' new-look attack features more spin with Ashton Agar opening the bowling. He had strangled Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the T20I series earlier this summer but Philippe dispatched him to all parts, going inside over the off side, against the turn over mid-on, and sweeping and ramping him fine. He also planted Fawad over cover and thumped the quicks down the ground with tremendous bat speed.
Daniel Hughes provided calm support in the 73-run stand before falling to Chris Jordan. Agar and Fawad conceded 70 in seven wicketless overs between them. There was one more instance where the DRS could have been used with James Vince given out caught behind off Jordan. The umpires checked upstairs to see if the catch carried, which it did, but Vince was not convinced he had made contact. Philippe finished the job in style with Moises Henriques to remind the competition that the Sixers are a threat again.