Josh Philippe has piloted the Sydney Sixers to their second BBL title, heaping more misery on the Melbourne Stars some eight years after watching idol-turned-mentor Steve Smith win the inaugural crown.
- The rain cleared allowing the Sixers and Stars to play 12 overs each in a shortened final
- Josh Philippe led the Sixers to 5-116, which the Stars fell 19 runs short of as their gun batsmen faltered early
- The crowd of 10,121 saw the Sixers win their second BBL title and the Stars continue their disappointing finals record
Philippe’s polished 52 lifted Sydney to 5-116 from 12 overs in Saturday night’s rain-affected final at the SCG, where wet weather was expected to ruin the season decider but stripped only eight overs from each innings.
The young gun, who sat in the WACA stands aged 14 when Smith skippered the Sixers to a formative victory, outperformed all-comers in a pressure-laden innings which oozed composure.
The target looked tricky but became monumentally challenging when Melbourne lost their two best batsmen in the opening three overs, crashing to 3-18 en route to a 19-run defeat.
Marcus 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 of excelling in the regular season and folding in finals.
The Stars have a 3-9 record in post-season BBL games.
Maxwell’s team feared 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.
The small crowd of 10,121 were treated to a special knock from Philippe which featured four fours and three sixes.
It is the latest piece of 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.
Maxwell opted to bowl and ended an entertaining knock of 21 from Smith, but couldn’t produce any fireworks 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.