The Sydney Sixers have equalled Perth’s Big Bash League record title count after overcoming their long-term rivals in tonight’s decider at the SCG.
The Sixers made it back-to-back championships and the third in a decade of the BBL with a 28-run triumph in remarkably their first home game of the tournament.
In a case of déjà vu, English import James Vince (95 off 60) destroyed the Scorchers before once again finishing in the 90s to propel the hosts to a massive 6-188.
Vince backed up his batting heroics with a stunning diving catch at cover to dismiss the dangerous Mitch Marsh (11 off 10) early in the power surge to complete a player-of-the-final performance.
“He might’ve just caught the trophy there, what a play in a crucial situation,” Adam Gilchrist said.
“He’s played a blinder with the bat and he’s just taken the catch of the night and one of the best in the tournament.”
Left-arm seamer Ben Dwarshuis’ (3-37 off four) double-wicket over ripped the heart out of Perth’s middle-order, with both set batsmen – Marsh and Josh Inglis (22 off 20) – gone in the space of three balls.
Former Test quick Jackson Bird (2-14 off three) did the damage early in the innings, crafty spinner Steve O’Keefe (0-26 off four) proved tough to score off and Dan Christian (2-24 off four) did his job to claim a ninth domestic T20 title.
The Scorchers, restricted to 9-160, had plenty of cameos, from Cam Bancroft’s (30 off 19) blistering start to Liam Livingstone’s (45 off 35) middle-overs assault and youngster Aaron Hardie’s (26 off 13) late fireworks.
But nobody could produce a Vince-like knock.
Last match it was Andrew Tye’s controversial final-ball wide that robbed Vince of the chance to become the Sixers’ first centurion, this time veteran leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed got rid of him.
Vince made the most of the Scorchers’ sub-par fielding, with Marsh and Bancroft giving him a pair of lives on 82 and 92 respectively off Hardie.
Marsh, who dropped the easier of the two catches, held onto one next over at backward point, outfoxed by Perth’s most economical bowler Ahmed (1-16 off three).
Turner’s decision not to give him another one a bit of a head-scratcher, with part-time spinner Livingstone’s (0-21 off two) 13-run second over proving costly.
Australian great Ricky Ponting also questioned Turner’s call to bowl first after winning the bat flip, saying it “went against their brand”.
“They’ve won seven times out of nine batting first and they’re such a good side when they’re defending their totals,” Ponting said on Channel 7.
“If they post 160-plus, they just don’t lose games. They’ve gone completely against their brand.”
The first wicket of the match had serious repercussions with player of the tournament and last season’s final hero Josh Philippe (nine) stunningly run out midway through the fourth over just as he was starting to heat up.
Vince looked rattled straight after the horror mix-up but didn’t take long to re-gain his composure.
“The way ‘Flipper’ got out, I really wanted to make a contribution,” Vince said.
Tye (2-29 off four) was terrific with the ball, highlighted by his penultimate over that went for just five runs to help restrict the Sixers to under 200.