The West

Sixers set sights on second title
Sixers set sights on second title

Sydney survived the most explosive innings of the Champions League to deny the Titans entry into an all-African final at Johannesburg tomorrow.

The Sixers will play local team Lions at Wanderers and can add their second Champions League title after triumphing by two wickets on the last ball of the pulsating match.

Cool-headed Pat Cummins scrambled a bye from the last ball of the innings to take his team to 8-164 and complete the biggest run chase of the tournament.

“If I didn’t go for 50 today it might have been a bit easier,” he said.

The teenage speedster needed to find something special after being punished for 51 runs from his four overs as David Wiese produced the most spectacular knock of the tournament.

Despite a Twenty20 career strike rate of 166, Wiese has not been considered a prospect to play for South Africa.

But that must surely change after he smashed an unbeaten 61 from just 28 balls to take the Titans to 5-163.

Wiese hit six fours and four sixes with several blows appearing to travel as high as they did long.

Sydney coach Corey Richards described it as a “remarkable innings no matter the format” while spinner Steven O’Keefe said it seemed Wiese was hitting a boundary every second ball during the peak of his barrage.

Using an old-fashioned Gray-Nicolls twin-scoop bat, the tall, long-haired right-hander helped opener Hernry Davids make mincemeat of the Sixers bowling in the final four overs when they thrashed 72 from 24 balls.

Perth Scorchers signing Cummins went for 34 of them in two overs, Australia A allrounder Moises Henriques copped a 23-run over and likely first Test quick Mitchell Starc went for 15.

“It is one of the best innings I have ever seen,” Cummins said. “It’s up there with (Kieron) Pollard and (Chris) Gayle. It was unbelievable how far he was hitting them and how clean.”
The onslaught provided a remarkable contrast to the first 16 overs when the powerful Sydney attack and athletic fieldsmen kept the run rate to under a run a ball.

Davids was rarely ruffled as he compiled his second half-century of the tournament following a first-up 54 against the Scorchers.

Sydney openers Michael Lumb and O’Keefe got their team off to a superb start with a stand of 54 before the first wicket fell in the fifth over.

Playing with controlled aggression, the pair thumped 12 fours and a six between them before a flurry of wickets fell as the Titans lifted before their baying home crowd.

O’Keefe said his team should have strolled to victory after needing 60 runs off the final 10 overs but was pleased his teammates kept their cool as the required run rate climbed.

“It was a good sign that we got there without playing our best cricket,” he said.

Steve Smith was involved in two identical suicidal run outs that gutted Sydney’s middle order.

He called Nic Maddinson through when the ball had deflected only a few metres from wicket-keeper Heino Kuhn and saw his young partner run out by comfortably when the ball was whipped to the non-striker’s end.

Then Smith fell in identical fashion when Henriques called him through with the ball almost in Kuhn’s gloves.

Henriques guided his team close to the target with a pair of massive sixes in his rapid 27 but he fell trying to strike another long drive.

But Sydney’s batting depth proved critical as No.7 Ben Rohrer added 27 while Cummins underlined his potential with an undefeated 14 from 10 deliveries, including a sweetly-timed loft over long-on to keep the run rate within reach.

“You can see how cool he is under pressure and you forget that he is just 19,” O’Keefe said.

Sydney captain Brad Haddin was struck on both thumbs while keeping during the Titans innings and will have scans today before he is cleared to play the final.

The West Australian

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