Recent Match Report – Sixers vs Heat Final 2023/24


Brisbane Heat 166 for 8 (Brown 53, Renshaw 40*, Abbott 4-32) beat Sydney Sixers 112 (Henriques 25, Johnson 4-26, Bartlett 2-12, Swepson 2-19) by 54 runs

In-form opener Josh Brown provided the spark before fast bowler Spencer Johnson claimed four wickets as Brisbane Heat earned redemption with an upset victory over Sydney Sixers to capture their second BBL title.

Defying a 43,153 crowd at the SCG, where Sixers had won 12 of their last 14 matches, Heat ended their 11-year title drought in dominant fashion.

Heat made an imposing 166 for 8 with Brown backing up from his record century against Adelaide Strikers in the Challenger by blasting 53 off 38 balls on a tricky surface. He threatened another outrageous knock before falling in veteran spinner Steve O’Keefe’s last over of his professional career.

Heat had been unable to defend 175 in last season’s epic final against Perth Scorchers, but their attack was unstoppable with Johnson finishing with 4 for 26 in the best figures recorded in a BBL final. It was sweet redemption for Heat, who all season have been spurred by the heartbreaking loss to Scorchers. They were the form team through the season and finished on top of the ladder before exacting revenge over Sixers, who had easily won the Qualifier on the Gold Coast.

It was a bitter disappointment for powerhouse Sixers, who were hoping to provide O’Keefe with a fairy-tale finish. But their hot late-season form came to a screeching halt as they fell well short of winning a fourth title.

After four straight victories, Sixers had entered as favourites and they surprisingly elected to bowl given their expertise at defending on the slow and low SCG surface. But batting proved difficult in overcast and humid conditions with Heat restricted to just 16 runs in the powerplay.

Seamer Sean Abbott, named in Australia’s white-ball squads against West Indies, produced menacing late swing and nicked off elevated opener Jimmy Peirson in the first over.

All eyes were on Brown, who became the talk of the cricket world after his extraordinary 140 off 57 balls against Adelaide Strikers in the Challenger. It was the third-highest score in BBL history marked by a record 12 sixes. But he was forced to be watchful against the seaming new ball and scored just three runs off his first 10 deliveries.

It was only a matter of time before Brown went for broke and just before the powerplay ended he was fortunate when Ben Dwarshuis missed a tough chance diving forward at deep square. Brown made them pay by smashing the first ball after the powerplay for six and he combined well with close mate and skipper Nathan McSweeney, who pounced on uncharacteristically wayward Sixers bowling

Brown took a liking to Hayden Kerr’s modest pace and clubbed him for consecutive sixes before bringing up his half-century with a gorgeous cover drive. Heat moved into a strong position at 90 for 1 before the reliable Dwarshuis had McSweeney hitting to deep fine leg then O’Keefe trapped Brown lbw in a decision overturned on review.

O’Keefe received a standing ovation from the Sixers’ crowd after finishing his typically miserly spell as Heat slowed down considerably after Brown’s dismissal.

But they reignited with Max Bryant and Matt Renshaw clubbing 31 runs in the power surge across the 17th and 18th overs as Heat finished strongly. Heat’s momentum continued with the ball when spearhead Michael Neser had opener Daniel Hughes caught at slip in the first over.

Johnson was expensive before bowling Jack Edwards off the inside edge on the last ball of the powerplay. Sixers slowed to a crawl as Johnson returned in the ninth over to dismiss opener Josh Phillipe as the home team slumped to 56 for 3.

Heat remained wary with memories of last year’s final still fresh with Scorchers 54 for 3 before storming home. But Heat were not to be denied with recalled legspinner Mitchell Swepson producing a fizzing legbreak that befuddled Jordan Silk and he was superbly stumped by Peirson.

Sixers’ faint hopes rested with skipper Moises Henriques, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week but played amid protocols. He had produced remarkable clutch batting just eight days ago against Scorchers in Perth, but his dismissal on the third ball of the power surge effectively ended the contest.

It wasn’t long before Heat celebrated with gusto to banish the ghosts of Optus Stadium.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

#Match #Report #Sixers #Heat #Final

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