James Vince’s masterful 95 and magnificent catch have delivered defending champions Sydney Sixers a 27-run win over Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League final.
Vince, asked to bat first in front of a sold-out SCG on Saturday night, marched the Sixers to a total of 6-188.
Momentum ebbed and flowed during a drama-laden chase that finished with the Scorchers at 9-161, but it was Vince’s epic performance at bat that fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground will remember most of all.
Vince’s unbeaten 98 delivered the Sixers a crushing nine-wicket win over Perth in last week’s qualifying final at Manuka Oval, where AJ Tye’s wide ended the match and denied the right-hander a shot at a ton.
Asked to bat first in front of a sold-out SCG on Saturday night, Vince picked up where he left off.
The 29-year-old Englishman picked gaps and stroked 13 boundaries, demonstrating impeccable timing against a star-studded Perth attack led by the BBL’s leading wicket-taker Jhye Richardson.
The target could easily have been bigger than 189, given the Sixers raced to 3-140 in 15 overs without taking the power surge.
Once again, discussion at the ground quickly turned to whether Vince would become the Sixers’ first batsman in BBL history to reach three figures.
Mitch Marsh and a diving Cameron Bancroft put down chances in the deep during the 15th over of the innings, when Vince was on 82 and 92 respectively.
But Marsh held a catch at the start of the following over, helping veteran legspinner Fawad Ahmed end Vince’s polished knock.
Tye stepped up to restrict the damage in the final five overs, and was once again was in the midst of controversy.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) February 6, 2021
Dan Christian fumed after he was dismissed on 20 off a full delivery from Tye that ended the 19th over, clearly believing it should have been called a no-ball.
Tye was booed every time he entered the attack during the Sixers’ first game at home this season, which marked the fourth season-deciding final between the rivals.
Vince passed 50 in 31 balls, with his most glaring mistake being a shambolic mix-up with the BBL’s player of the tournament Josh Philippe.
Philippe was run out by Tye after both openers ended up at the striker’s end during the fourth over, but the wicket failed to unsettle Vince.