Sport Cricket Big Bash League Sixers claim the BBL crown as Stars falter and fold once again

Sixers claim the BBL crown as Stars falter and fold once again

Moises Henriques hoists the BBL trophy after his Sixers put the Stars to the sword. Photo: AAP
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In the end, the Melbourne Stars’ fate was sealed at the beginning.

Faced with the task of bettering Sydney Sixers’ 5-116 and with 12 rain-reduced overs to do it, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell opened the batting only to sell their wickets cheaply.

Stoinis picked out Sean Abbott in the deep after a bright start to the first over, delivered by Nathan Lyon, while Steve O’Keefe trapped Glenn Maxwell lbw.

Maxwell’s dismissal proved to be the point of no return and the visitors finished on 6-97 to enhance their reputation for excelling in the regular season and folding in finals.

The Stars now have a 3-9 record in post-season BBL games.

Initially, rain was the enemy, with Maxwell’s team fearing they would watch the men in magenta celebrate without a ball being bowled, but ground staff worked tirelessly and the abridged contest started only 70 minutes late.

Although the final was sold out, only 10,121 spectators braved the rain to occupy their seats.

Those who did were treated to a special knock from Josh Philippe, who notched  four fours and three sixes.

Piloting the Sydney Sixers to their second BBL title, Philippe heaped more misery on the Melbourne Stars some eight years after watching idol-turned-mentor Steve Smith win the inaugural crown.

Philippe’s polished 52 lifted Sydney to 5-116 from 12 overs in Saturday night’s rain-affected final at the SCG

The young gun, who sat in the WACA stands as a 14-year-old when Smith skippered the Sixers to a formative victory, oozed composure as he outperformed all-comers in a pressure-laden innings.

It was the latest evidence from the 22-year-old as to why so many believe he is destined for higher honours.

“He’s definitely someone who has been talked about at different times, just because of the raw talent,” national Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch said on Fox Cricket.

“You can see him being a long-term player for Australia down the track.”

Philippe, who only decided to leave Perth and join the Sixers after receiving a call from Smith in 2018, shared a 34-run stand with his mentor and lookalike.

Maxwell opted to bowl and ended an entertaining knock of 21 from Smith, but failed to produce any fireworks of his own with the bat.

Smith produced arguably the shot of the night, heaving a full delivery from Haris Rauf over the leg-side rope and deep into the crowd, before holing out to Peter Handscomb in the deep.

The former Test skipper’s dismissal ignited a collapse of 3-19 before Philippe regained momentum and brought up his half-century in the final over with a six off Adam Zampa.

-with AAP

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