The match in a tweet: Sixers sensational! Men in magenta climb back into second spot as hapless Heat slip to a third loss on the trot
The scorecard: Brisbane Heat 8-126 (Pattinson 27*, de Villiers 25; Bird 2-21) lost to Sydney Sixers 2-128 (Philippe 53*, Vince 51) by eight wickets with 25 balls to spare
The heroes: Was James Vince batting on a different pitch to the Heat players? The Englishman was in sublime touch at the top of the Sixers order, unleashing an array of fierce pulls and drives, and a couple of delicate cuts to race to his half-century from 34 balls. “That’s as sweet a timing as I’ve seen from a batsman this season,” said Fox commentator Mark Waugh, who timed them pretty sweetly in his day.
“Not the fastest fifty, but one of the best to watch.” Vince was out a short time later but with the score at 1-75, his young opening partner, Josh Philippe, picked up the slack. Philippe had played second fiddle to Vince but quickly assumed control of the run chase thereafter, making a well-paced 53 not out from 43 deliveries to see his side home.
The support cast: The Sixers bowling group was strategically smart, and clinical in its execution. Spinners Steve O’Keefe (1-20) and Nathan Lyon (1-24) both took wickets in the Powerplay, while pacemen Jackson Bird (2-21), Tom Curran (2-25) and Ben Dwarshuis (2-35) all utilised a pitch that appeared a little up and down to claim two wickets apiece. Among that group, only Dwarshuis was expensive, though 14 of those runs came in the 19th over.
The moment: Chris Lynn had smashed 94 from 35 balls in the Heat’s last outing against the Sixers and after Sunday’s debacle against the Renegades, the skipper would have been determined to make a statement.
It wasn’t to be. In the third over, Lynn was cleaned bowled for seven by a flatter, quicker one from Steve O’Keefe. It was the beginning of a collapse of 5-42, from which the Heat never recovered.
The consolation effort: James Pattinson hit a career-best 27no to get the Heat to a more respectable total, clattering two sixes in the process. He then conceded just eight runs from his first two overs, bowling with typical pace and aggression, and returned late to claim the wicket of his Test teammate Steve Smith.
The showdown: Marnus Labuschagne’s skied pull to mid-on that cost him his wicket might have been his first mistimed shot of the summer, and who was there settling under it? Yep, his good mate Steve Smith.
Labuschagne had the chance to get one back over the master when he bowled to him in the 13th over of the Sixers’ run chase, but it wasn’t to be; with mid-on up, Smith drove one delightful four straight down the ground to well and truly claim bragging rights for the night over his Aussie teammate.
The stat: AB de Villiers has hit 391 sixes in his T20 career. Zero of those (from five inns) have come in Australia.
The banter: When Ben Cutting laced one out to deep cover and was well caught by James Vince, the Heat allrounder stood his ground, evidently feeling sure it had been a bump ball. Over to you, Dan Christian…
The next stops: The Heat head to Melbourne for their final two games, against the Stars on Saturday and then the Renegades on Monday in the final regular season match of the tournament. The Sixers head home and also play Saturday, rounding out their campaign against the Renegades at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Brisbane Heat XI: Chris Lynn (c), Sam Heazlett, Matthew Renshaw, AB de Villiers, Marnus Labuschagne, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Ben Cutting, James Pattinson, Mitchell Swepson, Ben Laughlin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Sydney Sixers XI: Josh Philippe (wk), Daniel Hughes, James Vince, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques (c), Jordan Silk, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Steve O’Keefe