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BBL Grand Final Preview

THE undermanned and injury-ravaged Sydney Sixers will look to win their third Big Bash League on the trot when they take on the Perth Scorchers in the grand final on Friday evening at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. 

The Sixers went to the very last ball in their challenger victory over the Adelaide Strikers on Wednesday evening at the Sydney Cricket Ground, sneaking through despite playing with injuries left, right and centre. 

All of Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, Steve O’Keefe and Daniel Hughes are in doubt for the deciding match of the season, which is a mountain of experience that will potentially sit on the sidelines for the men in magenta as they chase the unprecedented three-peat, having beaten the Scorchers in last year’s grand final. 

Perth aren’t without their own disadvantages, given a normal year would see them playing this match in home conditions, in front of what could be a strong and phaorical crowd in the west. Border restrictions have made mincemeat of that idea though, with the Scorchers instead having to host the clash at Docklands in Melbourne. 

But the Scorchers will be well-rested, having not played since they beat the Sixers for the first spot in the grand final last Saturday, and more importantly, they haven’t been forced to travel anywhere, with the Sixers flying back to Melbourne on Thursday following their win over the Strikers. 

That paints a picture that the Scorchers come into this game as favourites, and the form will only go to prove that further. Apart from the fact they beat the Sixers last time out, their bowling has been ferocious and consistent. AJ Tye has led the way with 22 wickets, but all of Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Matthew Kelly, Peter Hatzoglou and Tymal Mills have gone past ten wickets, giving Perth considerable depth and options when it comes to taking wickets.  

The best way to limit runs in T20 cricket is to take wickets, and the Scorchers have done it perfectly, restricting the Sixers to 140 in their first finals match, but also conceding more than 150 only once in their last seven matches, a miraculous record of consistency. 

That alone creates the ultimate headache for the Sixers as they attempt to make it three BBL crowns in a row without the likes of Josh Philippe, who is in quarantine after contracting COVID. 

Their fight to sign Steve Smith has fallen on deaf ears so far and while they still have experience from the likes of Moises Henriques and Dan Christian, the loss of Philippe means others need to stand up in a big way with the bat. 

Philippe has 429 runs for the season at 33 with a strike rate north of 140, and while Moises Henriques has matched his output and return, a calf injury will have the Sixers on edge in the lead up to the contest. 

In truth, they will need their bowlers – led by Sean Abbott – to have their way with the Scorchers, while others like Hayden Kerr, who was excellent against the Strikers will need to go big again. 

All in all, it feels like there are simply too many “if’s” for the Sixers, with the Scorchers to avenge last year’s defeat and take home the trophy. 


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