The Sydney Sixers have secured the double chance in the BBL|13 Finals thanks to an outstanding knock by their skipper Moises Henriques, stunning the Perth Scorchers, handing the hosts their first defeat at Optus Stadium this year by 3 wickets.
The 38-year-old smacked 47* off 20 balls, including four fours and three sixes to see his side into another finals campaign after a lusty blow in the final over to require just one run off the final ball for a remarkable victory, ending the Scorchers nine game winning streak at home.
The Sixers were ahead of the game almost the entire chase after a fast start and needed only 17 runs off 12 balls. Veteran quick Jason Behrendorff delivered a stunning penultimate over, collecting two wickets and affecting a run out to see the Sixers lose 5/5 in eight balls.
But Henriques composed himself from a momentary moment of “Panic” to land a big six in the final over, to reduce the target to just one run off the final ball.
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A brisk half century to Daniel Hughes (74 off 43 balls) and contributions from Western Australian Josh Philippe (32 off 23 balls) and James Vince (22 off 15 balls) kept the vocal home crowd quiet as runs continued to flow.
Scorchers skipper Aaron Hardie only used the five bowlers and was made to rue not having another option with Lance Morris (0/48), Ashton Agar (0/43), and Andrew Tye (0/42) all going wicketless and leaking over 10 runs an over.
It means the Sixers will travel to the Gold Coast to play the Brisbane Heat in the Qualifier on Friday night while the Scorcher’s will host the Strikers Perth in the Knockout on Sunday evening.
Earlier, English star Laurie Evans lit up Optus Stadium once again in his final BBL game of the season, powering the Scorchers to an intimidating total 4/197 in his final innings for the season before he departs the Scorchers ahead of the finals.
Evans clubbed 73 off just 34 deliveries, which included 11 fours and three sixes, in another astonishing display of power hitting.
The Scorchers opted to take the Power Surge early, after the home side were slow in the first half of their innings. But, as has become their blueprint when batting first, they used the wickets in hand and power to their advantage, using the two over period to turbo charge their innings.
After taking 13 runs off the 12th over – the first power surge over, Evans clicked into gear, with the import taking 28 runs off Hayden Kerr in the second over of the surge to continue his onslaught.
“This is a masterclass from Laurie Evans.” Michael Hussey said on Fox Cricket
“He’s almost taunting them now.” Commentator Anthony Hudson added later in the over as Evans sent another six into the grandstand.
It was his third half-century of the tournament, following on from his equally astonishing 85 off 28 balls against the Strikers earlier in the season.
It was the English import’s final innings this BBL Season, who departs for the ILT20 in Dubai overnight, finishing his second stint in Perth with 276 runs from seven innings.
A late innings cameo from youngster and last season’s Final hero Cooper Connolly posted his highest BBL score (37 off 18 balls) got the Scorchers up to an imposing 4/197.
The home side copped a big early blow when their other English star Stephen Eskinazi was forced to retire hurt after copping a blow to his right hand.
The Englishman copped a hit to his right hand in the third over and received medical attention in between overs, looking in considerable pain. He attempted to bat on, but could only manage to face up for two more deliveries before retiring hurt.
“I think Eskinazi’s in big trouble here’” Mike Hussey said on Fox Cricket
“He’s going to come straight off.”
Eskinazi spent time in the dressing room before returning to the team dugout but is in serious doubt to feature in the Scorchers finals series after not returning to the field.
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