Sixers go from glamours to grifters in hunt of BBL win

Scott Bailey |

Jack Edwards says the Sixers revel in their reputation for defending middling targets.
Jack Edwards says the Sixers revel in their reputation for defending middling targets.

They’ve gone from glamour club to the ultimate grifters, but the Sydney Sixers are ready to embrace their status as the BBL’s junkyard dogs in the final at the SCG.

Hunting a fourth title on Wednesday night, the Sixers are ready to fight their way to the death in another low-scoring encounter in Sydney if required.

It has become uncanny how good the Sixers have grown at defending middling scores of between 150 and 160 in the BBL this summer.

They have a 4-1 record this season after batting first and scoring in that region, recording wins against Adelaide, Brisbane, the Stars and Thunder.

But it’s nothing new for the men in magenta ahead of the final against the winner of Brisbane and Adelaide.

Since the start of 2019-20, there have been 119 first-innings scores across the BBL below 160 in non rain-affected matches.

Only 39 of those have been successfully defended.

The Sixers account for 10 of those wins, going against the tide with a 10-3 record when scoring less than 160 batting first.

“It backs you into a corner and you have to start well with the ball and be a bit more attacking with your options,” newly re-signed allrounder Jack Edwards said, adding captain Moises Henriques was “really process-driven” in that area. 

“He wants us to bowl the ball that we want to bowl, and a lot of the time one over can change things in a positive way. 

“SOK (Steve O’Keefe) might come on and go for one or two and takes a wicket, someone else takes a wicket and then the game looks completely different. 

“It’s about staying in the fight for as long as you can and keeping the pressure on. Maybe eventually they panic before you do.”

The other factor contributing to the Sixers’ reputation is the SCG wicket, where runs have been harder to come by this month.

No team has scored at beyond eight an over there in the past three games, which is well down on the tournament average run-rate of 8.7 for winning sides.

That has in turn suited a miserly Sixers attack, whose spinners in O’Keefe and Todd Murphy are the most economical of all bowlers to have sent down at least 10 overs in this summer’s tournament.

“We understand how to play in those conditions where sometimes it spins and sometimes the wicket is a bit different,” Edwards said.

“We’ve played on maybe some less-than-ideal wickets where 150 is actually a good total and we’ve been able to scrape and claw our way through.

“We’ve had to find ways to get to a winning total and then we have three bowlers in our attack who have played over 100 games.

“So we’ve got quality bowling and we’re strong in the field where it feels like we’re able to create pressure where it might feel like there isn’t as much as there is.”

AAP