Young allrounder Hayden Kerr has delivered the Sydney Sixers a remarkable win against all odds as they limped past the Adelaide Strikers to keep the dream of an historic three-peat alive.
Needing 12 to win off the final over, the 25-year-old hit the third-last ball of the match into the stands before scampering a two and a four to get the Sixers over the line in a final-ball thriller.
The right-hander finished on 98 not out, with he and fellow allrounder Sean Abbott (41 off 20) getting the Sixers back into the game with a when they looked down and out at 4-101 in the 15th over as they put on 55 in a match-winning partnership.
But the Sixers will be counting the cost from their stunning win, and with their top three batters from their last regular season match already missing, they look set to lose middle-order batter Jordan Silk for the final against the Perth Scorchers after he reinjured his hamstring in the field.
Silk was listed to bat at No.10 but walked to the wicket at No.8 before he was sensationally retired hurt before the last ball with the Sixers needing two to win.
To make matters worse captain Moises Henriques had also gone down with a calf injury while batting and was hobbling between the wickets for most of his innings off 13.
Chasing 168 to keep the dream of a historic three-peat alive, Kerr was thrust into the limelight to open the batting with Josh Philippe ruled out with COVID-19 and Daniel Hughes unable to pass a fitness test with an ankle injury.
Kerr, who offered a stumping chance to Test keeper Alex Carey first ball of the chase, favoured the mid-wicket area in his 58-ball knock, while also showing his finesse with a ramp off the Strikers final over hero from their last match, Harry Conway.
But he struggled to find an ally as Henry Thornton (2-40) and Conway (2-37) made sure the wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
It was his first half century in the Big Bash, and he played a lone hand until Abbott joined him in the 15th over.
Earlier, it was an ideal start for the depleted Sixers after Henriques elected to bowl first with Carey and Matt Short, who had combined for opening partnerships of 145 and 41 in their previous two finals against the Hurricanes and Thunder, both falling in the first two overs.
Carey (1) was the first to go, undone trying to take on the wily Steve O'Keefe on the third ball of the match but only offering a simple chance to Dan Christian at mid-off.
O'Keefe finished with 1-21 in what could be his last BBL match at the SCG as he has indicated he's unlikely to play on next summer after 11 seasons the Big Bash.
He also finished the innings off the field after injuring his right calf, the opposite leg from the one that sidelined him earlier in the season.
Christian was back in the action nine balls later, snaffling the in-form Short (6) at slip off Abbott to send both openers back to the sheds early.
When Ashes player of the series Travis Head attempted a wild heave and lost his middle peg in Abbott's next over, the Strikers, who had won their past six games, were stumbling at 3-21.
The Australian Test star, who was yesterday included in the T20 squad to face Sri Lanka next month, has struggled to find his feet since returning to the Big Bash with scores of 3, 3 and 5 in his three knocks.
English batter Ian Cockbain, who has been one of the finds of the entire season, consolidated with Jon Wells as they built a handy 83-run partnership hovering around six runs an over.
Cockbain, who now has 239 runs in his six BBL innings at 59.75 after being plucked from suburban club cricket in southeast Melbourne, brought up the Strikers first six of the innings from the last ball of the 11th over.
He then hit another two overs later as he pushed the Strikers' total past 100 before he was out for 48 (42) trying to up the ante in the Power Surge as Abbott (3-27) returned to claim his third wicket.
Wells (62no from 47 balls) then took over, bringing up his fourth half century of the tournament and he a Matt Renshaw (36no off 20) put on an unbroken 63 to push the Strikers up to a respectable total of 4-167.
Wells now has 501 runs in BBL|11, the most by a Striker in a single campaign, and second only this season to player of the tournament Ben McDermott with 577.
The Sixers will now travel to Melbourne tomorrow to attempt to claim their fourth BBL title against the Perth Scorchers at Marvel Stadium on Friday.
Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers
Friday, January 28, Marvel Stadium, 7.40pm
Seven, Fox Cricket, Kayo and SEN