Sydney Sixers 4 for 154 (Vince 41, Hughes 40, Andrews 2-22, Boyce 2-33) beat Melbourne Renegades 6 for 153 (Harper 45, Marsh 40, Pope 2-22, Bird 2-24) by six wickets
James Vince and Jordan Silk guided Sydney Sixers home to a tight victory over Melbourne Renegades on a slow surface at Docklands. Aaron Finch's men have now lost their fifth consecutive match after winning the Big Bash League last season.
With an innings that saw Sam Harper excel at the start and Dan Christian finish off effectively - between them taking Tom Curran for 1 for 58, the third-most expensive BBL figures ever - the Renegades thought they had enough runs to defend.
However Josh Philippe and Daniel Hughes gave the Sixers a sturdy start, and after a wobble in the middle, Vince and Silk were able to find the boundaries they required to scramble home. The win took the Sixers up to second on the BBL table with four wins from six matches.
Harper 1, Curran 1
On what has traditionally been a slow and sluggish Docklands drop-in pitch, Harper has made a name for himself with a series of quick burst starts to give Renegades the push. After Aaron Finch unfurled one handsome cover drive and then completely miscued an attempt to take a Jackson Bird outswinger over mid-off, Harper came into his own by targeting the ground's shorter square boundaries - his diminutive height tending to open up more opportunities for the cut shot than for most.
The prime target of Harper's attack was Tom Curran, who in his first over dropped obligingly into Harper's scoring zones and soon found himself nursing figures of 0 for 22 from his first over. It was a six-ball sequence that allowed Renegades to manage 57 from their powerplay, providing Shaun Marsh with the platform to launch. Curran, though, would benefit from a tighter line to cramp Harper, who maintained his habit of a cameo innings, when he shovelled a jamming full toss to midwicket.
Christian 1, Curran 0
Marsh's innings, which promised a payoff for all the early investment, fizzled out to nothing when an attempted slog sweep could only find Moises Henriques at long on. This after Lloyd Pope had struck twice to remove Marcus Harris and Beau Webster, the latter perhaps unluckily lbw to a googly that may well have missed leg stump. This meant that Harper's fast start was in danger of being squandered. But just as Harper has topped a few Renegades innings, Christian has tailed plenty of them all over the world.
While Will Sutherland struggled to make contact at the other end, Christian rounded on Curran's final over, finding boundaries to fine leg, third man, cover and then a thumping six over straight midwicket to the Englishman's final ball. Curran was left with figures of 1 for 58, Christian with a huge penultimate over for the Renegades, and the hosts with a defendable tally. Curran's analysis was the third most expensive in BBL history, behind only the 59 conceded by Thisara Perera also at Docklands in 2017, and 60 by Dan Worrall at the MCG in 2014.
In their opening unions so far Philippe and Hughes have rather contradicted the conventional wisdom that Philippe is the dasher and Hughes the accumulator. On this occasion, both the Sixers openers looked to be settling in for as long as possible, and they steadily built up the visitors' chase at a tick over six an over with the occasional boundary. When Andrews was introduced and took a wicket with his first ball as a Renegade - a half-tracker that stayed low and was on its way down to a second bounce when it reached Philippe - the Sixers were well placed.
Their platform soon looked somewhat shakier, however, as Hughes fell to Cameron Boyce when he picked out Marsh on the boundary, and Andrews skidded a straight delivery through Moises Henriques' attempt at an imposing sweep shot to his third ball. The Renegades looked, for a time, to be cornering the Sixers into the sort of position from which they won many of the matches in 2018-19 that took them all the way to victory in the BBL final.
Vince sets up, Silk finishes
Given how hard it can be to time the ball at Docklands, the Renegades could have been forgiven for thinking they were favoured to finally win their first match of the tournament. But that was to reckon without Vince, who showcased his tendency to sweet timing in challenging circumstances to nail 41 from just 26 balls and score the majority of 57 runs made while he was at the crease.
Of course, it would not have been a Vince innings without his departure just as the job looked to be done, and he left Silk with a still tricky scenario given how effective slower balls could be. He was able to take after Vince's timing, however, lacing a first flat six over cover to the audible distress of Finch, who could be heard asking out loud why Shaun Marsh was not fielding right on the boundary rope where he might have taken a catch. And in the final over, Silk lined up a Richard Gleeson cutter for the six that effectively ended the contest. The Renegades' drought goes on.