The Sydney Sixers’ golden Twenty20 run came to an abrupt end on Sunday as the Perth Scorchers began their road to recovery by cruising to victory in the Big Bash League grand final rematch at the SCG.
In a game where anything can happen, the Sixers’ 12-match winning streak was something to behold.
But Sunday’s seven-wicket loss proved even the world’s best can have a shocker in the T20 form, as the Sixers suffered a devastating early collapse before turning in a sloppy effort in the field defending their modest total of 9-113.
Led by a 51-run opening stand by Herschelle Gibbs (40 from 42) and Shaun Marsh, the Scorchers chased down the total with four balls remaining to record their first win of the season and get themselves off the bottom of the ladder.
Things got a little tight for the Scorchers towards the end, until captain Simon Katich came to the crease with his side needing 12 from 12 and smashed a six off the first ball he faced.
Since the Sixers beat Perth in last summer’s BBL grand final, the Sydney-siders went from strength to strength to be crowned Champions League kings in October.
The Scorchers on the other hand made headlines for all the wrong reasons in the tournament held in South Africa - failing to get out of the group stage and finding themselves embroiled in off-field controversy after an alcohol-fuelled night out.
Perth promised to make things right in the BBL and Sunday’s breakthrough win after back-to-back losses to open the tournament proved the West Australians cared about restoring pride.
It’s Justin Langer’s first win as coach since taking over as Warriors and Scorchers mentor in mid-November.
Just four nights ago the Scorchers were skittled for a BBL-low 69 in an emphatic, albeit controversial loss to the Melbourne Stars in Perth.
But this time it was their turn to decimate an opposition, as they left the Sixers reeling for 5-18 and 6-28, before allowing the tail to score 42 runs from the final five overs.
The Scorchers’ triumph after winning the toss meant the chasing team has now won nine out of nine times this BBL season.
Alfonso Thomas, Michael Beer and Hilton Cartwright took two wickets each for the Scorchers, with Brad Haddin (10) the only batsman out of Sydney’s top six to reach double figures.
Beer said it was do-or-die for the Scorchers.
“If we didn’t win we were out of the competition pretty much, so we had to be right up for it,” he said.
“We let ourselves down the other night so we had to do it.
“Confidence probably wasn’t there but we made a commitment to each other that we were going to go out and have fun and back ourselves and not be scared.
“(The Sixers) are world champions so it’s a feather in our cap to beat them.”
Sixers all-rounder Stephen O’Keefe, who top-scored for his team with 29 and also snared a wicket, said it was Sydney’s worst ever performance.
O’Keefe said his side still believed they could defend the total, but dropping Gibbs twice in successive balls at 1-74 ended any chance of a miracle.
“We scrapped out 113 which I thought was going to be competitive, but we just didn’t turn up,” he said.
“It was probably in my short stint here at the Sixers, our worst overall performance as a side. We definitely didn’t deserve to win that match.”