Moises Henriques was nervous after six weeks on the sidelines without a game of cricket.
But after making an immediate impact on his return, the Sydney Sixers captain is confident the “well-oiled machine” can exploit their ladder position and defend their Big Bash League title.
The allrounder carried the drinks for Australia’s Test team either side of Christmas, but has slotted back in with scores 56, 43 and 38 for the top-of-the-table Sixers.
He’ll lead the side in Saturday’s qualifying final against Perth, whom they beat to win their other BBL crown in the tournament’s first instalment a decade ago.
“There’s always that doubt when you’re watching from afar the boys do really well,” he said.
“You want to make sure you come back and have a positive impact; there’s always that doubt you could be letting someone down when you come in and potentially take their spot.”
The Sixers have enjoyed contributions from all corners this season, but opener Josh Philippe and veteran all-rounder Dan Christian have stood out.
Wicketkeeper Philippe has 454 runs for the tournament while Christian again showed poise and power to close out a run chase against the Melbourne Stars on Tuesday.
Earlier in the innings Henriques’ calm knock had ensured they earned the Bash Boost point that guaranteed the Sixers top spot.
“It’s pleasing but we’re still a couple of very strong performances away from any sort of title,” Henriques said.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more and … given the advantages of finishing top two and not having to travel to Perth is very advantageous.
“All those things come into play.”
He said the Scorchers’ depth made it feel like their “batting order goes forever”, but their Jyhe Richardson-led bowling attack remained their greatest threat.
Scorchers batsman Mitch Marsh bestowed similar praise on the Sixers.
“They’re a great team, bat all the way down to eight and have plenty of options with the ball and probably deserved to finish first,” he said.
“Hopefully we can put on a show.
“After four rounds we’d be written off already; so to come back and get the double chance (as a top-two side) is great.”