11th Match (N), Sydney, December 22, 2022, Big Bash League
(14/14 ov) 137/6
(14/14 ov, T:138) 131/7

Sixers won by 6 runs

Player Of The Match
43 (21)
Cricinfo's MVP
81.05 ptsImpact List

Sydney Sixers survive Asif Ali's blitz to seal opening win

Pakistan batter smashes 41 off 13 balls to give Sixers a late scare

Hayden Kerr provided some late momentum with the bat, Sydney Sixers vs Hobart Hurricanes, BBL 2022-23, Sydney, December 22, 2022

Hayden Kerr smashed 32 off 20 balls to give Sydney Sixers some late impetus  •  Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Sydney Sixers 137 for 6 (Philippe 43, Dooley 2-19, Shadab 2-32) beat Hobart Hurricanes 131 for 7 (Asif 41, Abbott 2-32) by six runs via DLS method
Sydney Sixers survived a late onslaught from Asif Ali to thwart Hobart Hurricanes on a slow SCG surface and register their first victory of this BBL season.
Rain delayed the start by an hour and reduced the match to 14 overs per side. There were some eyebrows raised when Sixers captain Moises Henriques elected to bat but it proved a masterstroke.
Defending 138, Sixers' bowlers relished returning to their favoured SCG as they stymied Hurricanes, who were never really in the hunt until Asif's astonishing 41 off 13 balls almost snatched a remarkable late victory.
Asif nearly conjures a miracle
Hurricanes were dead and buried, needing 45 off 10 deliveries until Asif had other ideas. He proceeded to smash 22 runs off Hayden Kerr's next four deliveries, with the last being a six off a full toss around waist height that should have been called a no-ball.
Needing 23 off the final over, Hurricanes' chances increased considerably when quick Naveen-ul-Haq bowled a wide on the first delivery and then he was smashed for a boundary by a red-hot Asif.
Sixers' players looked ashen-faced as their stunned fans sensed a massive meltdown. But Asif holed out on the next delivery to finally snuff out Hurricanes' chances.
O'Keefe relishes slow surface
Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe turned 38 earlier in the month, but he hasn't lost his ability to frustrate batters. On an increasingly slow surface, O'Keefe proved a vital inclusion, having been omitted against Scorchers at the pace-friendly Optus Stadium.
With canny bowling, O'Keefe put the brakes on Hurricanes' high-octane top-order batters. He snared the key wicket of Ben McDermott in the fourth over and then returned in the eighth over at a crucial juncture.
Hurricanes' run rate had lifted to 12 an over as captain Matthew Wade eyed putting the foot down. But he was unable to break the shackles from O'Keefe, who bowled nine dot balls in his first 11 deliveries.
A frustrated Wade holed out in the next over to spinner Todd Murphy and then kicked his bat as he trudged off in disgust.
Mixed bag for Sixers' batting line-up
Sixers were keen to make amends after sloppy batting displays in losses to Strikers and Scorchers.
After a topsy-turvy batting effort against Hurricanes, Sixers still have not had a batter score a half-century this season although they reached a competitive total due to strong bookends.
Openers Josh Philippe and Kurtis Patterson finally fired with a 68-run opening partnership to get Sixers off to a flier. Patterson, who holds a Test average of 144 from two matches, was a revelation last season as an aggressive opener for champions Scorchers.
After returning home to Sydney, Patterson made his first impact this season with a 25-ball 38 to lay a strong platform with Philippe. But their good work was undone after a collapse of 5 for 16 before Kerr hit an invaluable 32 from 20 balls at the death.
Kerr, who made 42 against Scorchers, continues to make a compelling case to move up the order.
Shadab makes amends after dropping a sitter
Hurricanes were thrashed early with Wade using five different bowlers in as many overs in a desperate bid for a breakthrough.
Their early woes were symbolised when spinner Shadab Khan dropped the simplest of return catches in the fifth over to reprieve Philippe.
The wet ball may have given him an excuse for fumbling the skier but Shadab was keen to make amends.
Shadab did exactly that when he came back in the eighth over and removed Philippe with a slow and wide delivery that was hit straight to long-off. It was gutsy bowling from Shadab, who was suddenly on a roll when he dismissed Henriques first ball with a spectacular diving return catch.
It was reminiscent of his brilliant caught and bowled dismissal of Scorchers allrounder Aaron Hardie earlier in the week.
Shadab's efforts sparked a Sixers collapse with left-arm spinner Paddy Dooley, whose unorthodox bowling action has turned heads, continuing his breakout season with the wickets of Jordan Silk and Dan Christian.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

Win Probability
SS 100%
100%50%100%SS InningsHH Innings

Over 14 • HH 131/7

Asif Ali c Silk b Naveen-ul-Haq 41 (13b 4x4 3x6) SR: 315.38
Sixers won by 6 runs
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