The Sixers missed their chance to leapfrog their neighbours in a 46 run loss to the Thunder at the SCG on Saturday. The equation facing them was a tough ask, needing a monster effort to win and sufficiently boost their net run rate.
MATCH REPORT: Thunder in Sixers season on SCG
Once the Thunder set a target of 203, that chance was all but gone. However, stand-in captain Nic Maddinson believed the damage was done in previous games.
"To put ourselves in the position to [have to win] in 16 overs was pretty upsetting. I think there were a couple of games we should've won.
"The easy one to point out is Adelaide. I think Brisbane last week, our bowling was probably a little bit off and again tonight."
In addition to the key injury of captain Moises Henriques, Maddinson believes the Sixers lost the knack of seizing the clutch moments in games.
"There were probably a couple of moments where Sixers in the past have found a way to win. I don't think we really did that this year.
"Moises is a leader and a guy that we can really bank on in the middle order. So we've been a little bit short every game. We've been trying to make up one position with two different players so it's been a tough ride."
Despite a number of foreseeable absentees, Maddinson refused to criticise the inclusion of representative players such as Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood for the team's struggles.
"I think you've got to have those guys in your squad. If they play one game a year, you're gonna win that game. If we have Steve Smith for one game, I'm sure he'll play a match winning innings. If Mitchell Starc plays one game, he'll win us the game.
"You have to have those guys in your squad for the game they're available because it can turn your whole season around."
If nothing else, the challenging season did allow fringe players to gain big game experience.
"I think Ben Dwarshuis...stepped up really well. He's very mature for someone who's played so little cricket. I think we need to invest a lot of time in him. I think he's going to be a great player for the Sixers."