The Sixers have leapt back to the top of the Big Bash League table with a dramatic last ball victory over the Brisbane Heat at Metricon Stadium on Sunday night.
With the scores tied at 148 apiece, veteran Dan Christian topped off a brilliant innings by pulling a full toss to the boundary, finishing unbeaten on 61 from just 38 balls with five sixes and three fours.
The three-wicket bonus point win saw the Sixers overtake cross town rivals the Sydney Thunder, with the two Sydney teams playing for top spot when they meet at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Wednesday.
The Sixers and Thunder have six wins each from nine games, but the Sixers have the most bonus points in the competition, seven compared to the Thunder’s five.
In some trouble at 4-54, Sixers captain Dan Hughes (51 from 35 balls) played another fine innings in a partnership of 72 with Christian.
Once Hughes departed Christian took over, judging the run chase beautifully as wickets continued to call at the other end.
It was a night of milestones for Christian, who brought up 250 wickets and then 5000 runs in 335 Twenty20 matches from competitions around the world.
His heroics followed an excellent bowl performance from the Sixers, led by West Indian Carlos Braithwaite, who finished with the extra-ordinary figures of 4-18 from his four overs.
Fellow international, Englishman Jake Ball, claimed 3-25, including two wickets in a fine last over.
Experienced Sixers opening bowlers Steve O’Keefe and Jackson Bird set the tone early.
A relentless seamer, Bird bowled all four overs in an opening spell which netted 2-22 while O’Keefe bowled all his overs in the first half of the Heat’s innings to finish with 0-23 from his four overs.
Bird had 2-10 from his first two overs, claiming Max Bryant (10) and Englishman Joe Denly (7) caught by Christian unsuccessfully attempting to hit over the infield.
The same bowler and fielder could have also combined to remove dangerous Heat skipper Chris Lynn for five but Christian was unable to hold the difficult, high chance back-peddling from mid-on.
Bird also dropped Lynn at mid-off on 38 from Christian’s bowling but the misses did not prove particularly costly.
A brilliant catch from Jordan Silk removed Lynn for 56 from 44 balls after he hammered a pull shot off Braithwaite flat and hard.
Silk caught the ball on one foot leaning over the rope, threw it up as momentum took him over the boundary, and caught it after running back into the playing field.
Two balls later Braithwaite had James Bazley (0) caught behind with a fine leg-cutter.
Braithwaite’s first wicket was Joe Burns (7) caught behind attempting to run a ball to third man.