The eighth edition of the IPL reached it’s conclusion Sunday night with Mumbai Indians claiming the title ahead of Chennai Super Kings.
While there were no Sixers on the field for the final of the lucrative tournament, a record six men in magenta took part in this year’s tournament, gaining experience which will be invaluable come this summer.
Here’s a look at how the Sydney Sixers got on at this year’s tournament.
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Sean Abbott (RCB)
Sean Abbott experienced his first taste of the IPL in this year’s tournament alongside Sixers teammates Mitchell Starc and Nic Maddinson at Royal Challengers Bangalore. As was the case for Maddo, Abbott was hard placed to crack the starting line-up which included superstars Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, but won selection for the first two matches of the tournament.
Abbott bowled well and was unlucky not to take any wickets in his two games where some interesting fielding inflated his bowling figures, but will no doubt be better for the experience. His side finished in third spot.
In Abbott’s second game he hit a quickfire 14 from 9 balls and took figures of 0-21 before a rampaging David Warner saw his side fall to the Sunrisers.
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Johan Botha (KKR)
Runs: 31, HS: 17, S/R: 206
The Sixers latest signing was a late call up to join the Kolkata Knight Riders side, and showed his class in the four matches he played.
Botha opened the bowling for KKR in one match, and was also a reliable fielder grabbing four catches. His economical bowling was the highlight, perhaps only trumped by his more than useful lower order hitting. Botha only faced 15 balls in the competition, but turned these into 30 runs and played arguably one of the shot of the tournament when he reverse swept Indian quick Bhuvi Kumar for six.
Johan’s most telling contribution was arguably with the bat against Delhi, when after coming to the crease with only five balls remaining in the innings he smashed four fours in a row to help his side post a competitive 171. This hitting bodes well for what he can bring to the Sixers this summer!
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Moises Henriques (SRH)
Runs: 287, Ave. 41, S/R: 136.01, 50s: 2
Wickets: 11, Ave.: 14.36 (1st), Econ.: 6.32 (5th), S/R: 13.63 (6th)
An incredible tournament for the Sixers captain was only soured by his side narrowly missing out on the Finals. Moises missed the first five games of the Sunrisers campaign, but his selection in the side coincided with a turnaround in their fortunes.
Moises anchored the Sunrisers batting order at number 3, playing several important hands including blasting two half-centuries, but stood out for his work with the ball. Moises return of 11 wickets from 9 games may not sound impressive, but his ability to keep his economy rate down, build pressure and take wickets was critical in his side’s success.
In the end, his bowling average of 14.36 was the best in the competition – even better than Mitchell Starc’s – while his economy rate of 6.32 was also the fifth best, and a serious nod to just how far his bowling has come in the last 12 months.
Moises had many notable performances, but none can really match the near perfect game he managed in a rain-shorted match up with RCB. Batting at three, Moises smashed a 20-ball fifty, showcasing world class power and precision. Defending 83 in 6 overs, he then defied the odds by picking up 2-3 from his only allotted over with the ball, picking up the scalps of Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers in consecutive balls. Seriously impressive stuff!
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Nic Maddinson (RCB)
Young-gun Nic Maddinson was in a similar position to Sean Abbott – it is always hard trying to get a game in a line-up featuring the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Maddo did manage to get one game for RCB in the tournament when he replaced the out of form Gayle.
In typical fashion, Maddo had license to swing hard from the get go, and was unlucky to be dismissed cheaply. After Gayle smashed a century in his return to the line-up in the next game, it was always going to be tough for Maddo to re-gain his place!
Maddo only had the one chance to show his class and unfortunately missed out, but as he told SydneySixers.com.au before leaving, the opportunity to learn from his World Class teammates was the best benefit of the trip undoubtedly.
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Steve Smith (RR)
Runs: 293, Ave.: 26.63, HS: 79*, S/R: 132.57, 50s: 2
Steve Smith was handed the Captains reigns for Rajasthan Royals while Shane Watson was injured, and again when Watson decided to focus on his own batting. He enjoyed a strong start to the tournament and scored more runs than any other Sixer.
WATCH: Smith posts first IPL fifty
Smudge continued his strong form to start the tournament, and went on to pass fifty twice. His biggest achievement however was no doubt leading the unfancied Rajasthan outfit into the top four.
The Royals started the tournament in supreme form, in part due to Smith’s efforts with the bat. His 79* in the third match of the season was his highest ever score in T20 cricket, and came from only 53 balls, helping his side to victory against eventual winners the Mumbai Indians.
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Mitchell Starc (RCB)
Wickets: 20 (5th), BBM: 4/15, Ave.: 14.55 (3rd), Econ.: 6.76, S/R: 12.90 (4th)
Starcy continued his hot form from the World Cup into the IPL where, despite missing the start of the tournament with injury, he finished with the fifth most wickets.
His return to RCB turned around his side’s fortune, as his ability to pick up wickets and dry up the runs in the power plays and death overs was near perfect. Only one other bowler (Moises Henriques) who finished inside the top 20 wicket-takers conceded less than seven runs an over, and as has become custom, most of his wickets were bowled from perfect Yorkers.
Starc recorded new career best figures several times throughout the tournament, but nothing trumped his incredible return of 4-15 from four overs against Kings XI Punjab. Despite slowing down a touch towards the back end of the campaign, there isn’t a conversation these days about the best bowler in the world when his name isn’t mentioned.
SIXERS IN THE IPL
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Mitch Starc, Nic Maddinson, Sean Abbott
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Johan Botha, Trevor Bayliss (Head Coach)
Rajasthan Royals (RR): Steve Smith
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SH): Moises Henriques