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Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat
Sydney Cricket Ground, January 18, 2018
Match 32 - KFC T20 Big Bash League 2017/2018
|Brisbane Heat 1st Inn||73 all out|
|Sydney Sixers 1st Inn||1/74|
|Sydney Sixers won the toss and elected to bowl.|
|Sydney Sixers win by 9 wickets|
|Sydney Sixers||Over: 10.0 RR: 6.34|
|Last Wicket:||D.P. Hughes, 37 (lbw. Shah) - 1/49|
There’s a logjam at the top of the Big Bash table for a coveted finals spot, and the Brisbane Heat are right in the middle of it, although a win over a resurgent Sydney Sixers looks absolutely crucial for them to earn a top-four position. Join The Roar for live scores, updates and analysis from 7.40pm (AEDT).
The Heat looked a definite title contender after dispatching the Perth Scorchers a little over a fortnight ago, but a pair of losses to the Hobart Hurricanes has seen them drop to fifth on the points table, with precious little time to make up the ground.
Central to that slump has been the loss of talismanic batsman Chris Lynn to yet another injury, and without his destructive hitting at the top of the order, the Heat’s thin bowling stocks have been exposed.
Captain Brendon McCullum has at least returned to somewhere near his best, the Kiwi master blaster managing 33 and 51 in those two defeats, but with only sporadic support from his teammates, he’ll be looking for others to carry the load at the SCG.
Six straight losses to start the tournament may have ended the Sixers’ finals hopes, but the men in magenta have looked a different side in their past two matches.
Buoyed by the return of Nathan Lyon from Test duties, as well as a pair of new internationals in Joe Denly and Carlos Brathwaite replacing an out-of-form Jason Roy (at least at BBL level), the Sixers pipped the Thunder in a last-ball thriller in the Sydney Smash, before pulverising the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.
Former captain Moises Henriques’ return from personal leave has also been a boost, with the veteran’s cool head and all-round ability a shot in the arm for the middle order.
With Lyon roaring with the ball and the likes of Denly and the in-form Daniel Hughes making plenty of runs with bat in hand, the Sixers are definitely not the cellar dwellers their 2-6 record would have you believe.
Watch out for a big late withdrawal from the Heat camp; important batsman Joe Burns appeared to injure his groin at training on Wednesday, with speculation rife that he will have to sit this one out.
The Heat desperately need a win here, but with no Lynn and up against a stodgy Sixers’ bowling attack, they’ll find it hard to get one.
Sixers by six wickets or 18 runs
Can the Heat get past all their injury woes and prove they belong in the finals? Or will the Sixers continue their last-season surge and put a dampener on their chances?
Tune into The Roar’s live coverage of this crucial game from 7.40pm (AEDT), and don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.