A sad batting show from an understaffed Melbourne Stars has given the Sydney Sixers the dream start to their BBL title defense with a record win in the season opener at SCG.
After the Sixers’ powerful batting unit destroyed an inexperienced Stars bowling attack to get their highest KFC BBL score ever, the visitors capitulated with the bat to be knocked out for 61 in the 12th over.
It was BBL’s biggest winning margin ever with the victory of 152 races overshadowed the previous record of 145 of the Sixers over the Melbourne Renegades in Hobart last summer.
Only two Stars players – Peter Nevill (18) and Hilton Cartwright (10) – made it to double digits when skipper Glenn Maxwell and English importer Joe Clarke failed to shoot.
Meanwhile, the three great back-to-back champions – Josh Philippe, James Vince and Moises Henriques – all got off to the top of the ranks after being asked to strike first by Maxwell on Sunday night.
Already missing batter Joe Burns, bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Billy Stanlake and goalkeeper batter Seb Gotch, Stars suffered another injury when one of Australia’s T20 World Cup heroes, Marcus Stoinis, was ruled out with a side charge just before. the fight.
That meant Sam Elliott – son of former Test opener Matthew Elliott – was handed the new ball along with debutantes Brody Couch and Pakistani mystery spinner Syed Faridoun.
It was a measured start from Philippe and Vince as they went on to 0-9 from the first two overs – but when Philippe hit Elliott for four through backwards on the 15th ball in the inning, the locks opened.
Philippe and Vince took the third over in 12 runs before the English right-handed player let loose in Sam Rainbird’s next over, hitting three boundaries behind the square on the leg side as the Sixers drove on to 1-92 halfway through the inning.
When Vince retired after 44 of 29 balls, the Sixers’ captain Henriques kept the momentum going with fast 76 not out of 38 balls (with a strike rate of 200) to bolster his team to the highest number ever at 4-213, darkening their previously best of 4-205 against Renegades in BBL | 10.
It was also the highest BBL total at SCG, with Philippe – the competition’s third leading scorer in the two previous tournaments – continuing his rich form with a pair of big sixes (including one on the roof of the grandstand) to finish with 83 of 47 balls.
The Sixers power hitters got hold of Rainbird, one of the Stars’ more experienced bowlers, who finished 1-59 from his four overs with an economy rate of 14.75.
It was a disastrous start for the Stars in response as they fell to 2-4 inside the first over from veteran spinner Steve O’Keefe.
It went from bad to worse when superstar Maxwell tried to deposit Sean Abbott’s first ball off the ground and was cleared.
From there, the wickets kept toppling over with O’Keefe (4-14) and young all-rounder Hayden Kerr, who both took on consecutive wickets to be on the hat trick.
Kerr (2-6) was denied the chance to claim his hat-trick as he was not brought back a second over by Henriques. Abbott was the second chief destroyer with 3-14 from three overs.
“(Philippe) and (Vince) just put such a beautiful platform on top of batting and made it pretty easy for everyone else to get in,” Henriques said.
“We did not have to negotiate some difficult situations, it was pretty clear what the plans were, when you lose your first wicket in the ninth over, you’ve pretty much got a license to get started.”
The stars have a five-day break before their next match against the Sydney Thunder at SCG on Friday, and Maxwell said they would hopefully welcome Stoinis, Coulter-Nile, Qais Ahmad and Burns back for a few matches.
“It was not a good night,” Maxwell said.
“I thought we actually did really well with an inexperienced bowling lineup. Sammy Elliott took the new ball in his first game and I thought he showed some good signs, he got the ball to shape in the beginning, looked like he had great control.
“You have Josh Philippe in incredible shape… and James Vince is a world-class artist – a tough inauguration for these young guys, but it’s a great learning curve for them.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of guys have yet to show up.
“It just brought us back where we want to be to round one, but you can not win the tournament from round one.”
The Sixers will next face the Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on Wednesday.
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