The Melbourne Stars have been a very consistent team in the BBL bar one poor season.
The Sydney Sixers have been crowned Big Bash champions in bizarre scenes, triumphing over the Melbourne Stars without the need for synoptic charts or bureaucracy.
Batting first at the SCG, the men in magenta set a strong target of 117 from 12 overs thanks to Josh Phillipe’s 52 and cameos from Jordan Silk and God, with the latter taking time out from controlling the weather to fidget his way to an entertaining 21 (12).
In reply, the Stars crumbled to be all out for 98 to not only hand the Sixers a second domestic title, but also reinforce Shane Warne’s scolding criticism that the organisation he spent three years leading has a long-term leadership problem.
However, the story of the night was the manner in which the Sixers achieved the result, with the home side managing to clinch the title in obscure fashion by beating their opposition in a game of cricket.
Following a damp buildup to the match – and a tonne of rain – many pundits had tipped the Sydney side to prevail on the back of the anticipated debut of one of the competition’s relative unknowns, that being, clause 126.96.36.199.
This law orders that finals suffering La Nina would result in the trophy being awarded to the team with home ground advantage, thus seeing the Sixers create BBL history as the first team crowned champions because of better parking spots.
With Sydney enveloped in precipitation, many assumed the final was set to be decided under this uncharacteristically weird cricket rule, especially after arriving at the SCG to observe a small tropical reef had formed on a good length.
Then with rain persisting beyond the scheduled start time, resignation to the possibility of an asterisk result had built significantly before ratcheting to a fever pitch of concern by the bat flip.
This was due to the obvious tactical permutations of the toss, and the likelihood of tickets being non-refundable because throwing a piece of wood constitutes ‘a game’ under modern tight-ass consumer law.
Both teams were also dealing with the possibility a hollow outcome – albeit in different manners – with the Sixers seen casually inspecting the playing surface in relaxed spirits and the Stars, lead by coach David Hussey, inspecting it in stilettos.
The umpires were also caught up in the heady moment of a pressure faux-final, with both fastidiously reviewing the law book at regular junctions for a way to fit a seven-minute window of play with a ten-minute innings break and two time-outs.
But ultimately, the unforeseen event of play punctured any possibility of a history-making evening, with the Sixers’ orthodox 19-run win robbing trainspotters, naysayers and the bored of the unique opportunity to see the BBL decided by subsection.
Nevertheless, the close shave only further fuelled debate over the topic of a reserve day, and how we should nurture such marquee events in future by avoiding them at all costs.
But despite the push, it appears officials are unable to find room for a reserve day because the calendar is too full of BBL games.
Hopefully, this means future BBL finals affected by rain can be decided by a means traditional to the T20 format, such as a Twitter poll or a countback on bangers.