Sydney Sixers 3 for 164 (Philippe 84, Behrendorff 1-19) beat Perth Scorchers 7 for 163 (Livingstone 67, Christian 2-22, Brathwaite 2-12) by seven wickets
Josh Philippe may well have secured a trip to New Zealand with Australia's T20 side after producing yet another dazzling display with the bat to entrench Sydney Sixers in top spot on the BBL table with a comfortable win over Perth Scorchers.
Philippe, the tournament's leading runscorer, made light work of what could have been a tricky chase of 164 showcasing his full array of skills in an innings of 84 from 52 balls. He shared a 106-run stand with James Vince who scored an equally classy 52 from just 35 as the Sixers cruised to victory by seven wickets with seven balls to spare.
The Scorchers only have themselves to blame after inviting the Sixers back into the game. At the ten-over mark of the first innings, they were for 1 for 103 having won the toss and batted first. Liam Livingstone lit up Manuka Oval with some phenomenal striking, launching six balls into the stands in a blistering 38-ball 67. But they boldly took the Power Surge in the 11th over and Livingstone holed out first ball to spark a stunning collapse. They lost 6 for 60 in the last 10 overs with Dan Christian, Carlos Brathwaite, and Jake Ball strangling the Scorchers middle order taking two wickets each.
The Sixers moved nine points clear on top of the BBL table, while the Scorchers remain in third thanks to the Bash Boost point.
Livingstone was dropped first ball in the last game against the Hobart Hurricanes and made them pay with a half-century. He was dropped fifth ball off Steve O'Keefe and made the Sixers pay a heavy price. It was a straightforward chance at mid-off which Daniel Hughes made a mess of.
The Scorchers scored just nine runs off the first two overs before Livingstone teed off. Jackson Bird's line and length was treated with disdain as he clubbed two fours a six in one over. O'Keefe then suffered the ignominy of conceding the most runs in an over in this BBL season. Livingstone plundered 26 off the bat, including three sixes, two of which were struck one-handed down the ground, while O'Keefe delivered a wide as well. The Scorchers took 53 off the powerplay and kept rolling.
Livingstone brought up his half-century in the seventh over off just 29 balls with his fifth six. Even the loss of Jason Roy didn't slow him down as he cleared the rope for a sixth time. The Scorchers were 1 for 103 after 10 overs but incredibly, Dan Christian bowled the eighth and 10th over and conceded just 10 runs while picking up Roy.
The Scorchers took the Power Surge immediately and it triggered a collapse as they lost 4 for 18 in four overs. Livingstone later blamed himself after chipping the first ball from Jake Ball to mid-off, and Ashton Turner holed out later in the over. They managed to score just 9 runs from the Surge with Ball and Christian tying them down with some excellent yorkers and slower balls. Colin Munro watched his teammates come and go and struggled for fluency against some clever bowling and fell to Carlos Brathwaite for 34 off 32. The Scorchers scored just 60 off the last 10 overs and lost six wickets.
Philippe continued his outstanding form on a day when Australian T20 captain Aaron Finch suggested he was being looked at closely for national duties. He got off the mark with a streaky outside edge past slip but was flawless thereafter, feasting on Andrew Tye in the third over taxing three overpitched deliveries in a row. The chase stalled a touch when Philippe and Vince didn't score a boundary for four overs after Justin Avendano fell to Jason Behrendorff in the midst of a tidy spell from the left-armer. But Tye returned and Philippe pumped him through midwicket to bring up a very comfortable half-century off 31 balls.
He then stepped on the accelerator and Vince went with him. The pair struck six fours and two sixes in 30 balls without taking the Power Surge. They called for the Surge in the 16th over and brought up a century stand and Vince's half-century in the same over. They couldn't finish the game off themselves. Philippe was hit in the helmet trying to pull a slower ball bouncer off Jhye Richardson and lost his middle stump next ball trying to paddle scoop fine. Vince played all around a leg break from Fawad Ahmed in the next over but Hughes and Christian scored the last 16 runs without error.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne