Sydney Sixers aim to win with spin in BBL 2
Last summer, the Sydney Sixers appeared to defy all belief to somehow take the inaugural Big Bash League title. A look at their statistics, though, shows how they pulled it off.
The Sixers’ batting was weak all season long. What success they had was built around New South Wales Blues sensation Nic Maddinson, the only Sixers player to make the season’s top-10 run-scoring list.
Maddinson accumulated 275 runs at a strike rate of 125, with an average of 30.56, to be the fifth-highest run-getter in the season. No other Sixers players got close.
Nor was it just run-scoring bulk that was lacking. It was also indicative that no Sixers batsman averaged in excess of 40 runs per innings.
Ironically, no Sixers batsman managed to score more than six sixes, either. This also meant that no batsman wearing the ‘mangenta’ managed to crack the top 10 for the most sixes in the first BBL season. 10th on the list came in with seven sixes.
However, the Sixers were able to go on to ultimate success by causing a BBL Economic Crisis.
The SCG-based side boasted three of the 10 lowest-conceding bowlers in the competition. All-rounder Steve O’Keefe (5.92 runs per over), paceman Brett Lee (6.48 rpo) and New Zealand off-spinning international Nathan McCullum (6.50 rpo) ensured that the men in pink could defend their often questionable, below-par totals.
The spin-heavy roster lulled opposing teams into a false sense of security, before the bowlers pounced on rash shots with cleverly mastered tweak bowling.
The other crucial aspect was that the Sixers took their chances. The mantra “catches win matches” couldn’t have been truer for the Sydney Sixers. Co-Captains Steven Smith and Moises Henriques led from the front in the field, coming in first and third on the catch-taking list by grabbing nine and five respectively. Their bowlers couldn’t have asked for better support.
And for the new season of BBL 2? Well, you can bet Sydney will be looking to repeat their tactics from the first edition.
The Sixers were rank outsiders with punters before a ball was bowled in the inaugural season. Despite this, the belief within the squad ensured ultimate success.
The addition of West Indies spinner Sunil Narine, as well as retaining the bulk of the premiership-winning team, will see a repeat of the playing style which lead the side to its initial victory.
However, the Sixers will have to drastically improve their batting if they are to be a genuine chance of going back-to-back. Premier batsman Henriques was often mundane in his approach to run-scoring, only displaying his talents in the final against the Scorchers, with a blistering and match-winning 70 runs.
He’ll need to add a few more similar innings to give the men in pink the best chance of a repeat.
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.