Allround Sixers go second with six-wicket win

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Sixers kept the visitors to 170 despite a blazing knock from Finch.

At one stage, a victory looked imminent for Sydney Sixers in front of their home crowd but Melbourne Renegades sent in a couple of tight overs towards the end to make a match out of it only for James Pattinson to end their resistance with a no-ball in the final over. Sixers have now jumped to the second spot in the table with eight points following a six-wicket win on Monday (January 9) at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
It was a collective team effort as there were contributions from the top-five batters in the chase of 171. The openers Michael Lumb and Daniel Hughes got the Sixers off to a bright start by finding the boundary at regular intervals during the powerplay. After scoring 21 off the first three overs, Chris Tremain was hit for a couple of fours by Hughes in the fourth over and that was followed by Pattinson leaking 15 runs in the following over.
The boundaries continued to rain in as Lumb hit two more in the final over of the powerplay to get his side off to an electric start. After scoring 60 in the first six overs, the platform was laid for a big win. Aaron Finch then bowled with his frontline spinners at either end in search of a desperate breakthrough. Sunil Narine then got rid of Hughes for 41 after conceding a six early in the over. By this time, there was also a bit of rain but the umpires had decided that it wasn’t heavy enough to take the players off the field.
Nic Maddinson was then lucky to survive a close leg-before-wicket appeal against Brad Hogg with replays suggesting that it would have hit the leg stump. There was a brief interruption in the following over with wicketkeeper Peter Nevill getting hit on the head while trying to collect a throw. Nevill had to walk off the field as a precautionary measure after undergoing a concussion test on the field.
Finch temporarily took over the gloves until Nevill returned back a few overs later. But the interruption helped Renegades in a way as Lumb hit one straight to Narine at short third man. The English opener failed to connect a slower one from Thisara Perera, who featured in his first game for the Renegades.
There was no respite though for the opposition as the runs kept coming at a fair clip. Tremain was hit for 14 runs in the 14th over as the target was brought down to 53 from the final seven overs. Narine then provided Renegades some hope by sending Maddinson back for 26. The left-hander who struggled against the spinners in his brief stay was stumped after failing to read the West Indian. Sixers then sent in Haddin at No. 5 in order to counter the spin threat.
The move worked as Haddin hit Narine for a couple of boundaries after Hogg was hit for a massive six over deep midwicket. Sixers had the match in their bag with the equation coming down to 28 from 24. But a couple of tight overs, that also induced a wicket, made things interesting as the home side needed nine from the final over. Haddin then calmed the nerves with a boundary over point which was then followed by a no-ball by Pattinson. Sixers picked up a couple of runs in the resulting free-hit to complete the formalities.
Earlier in the evening, Renegades made a sloppy start after opting to bat. The decision to open with Narine at the top of the order backfired yet again as he failed to connect a short ball from Jackson Bird in the very first over to be caught by the bowler himself. Cameron White made a belligerent start to his innings with a couple of fours and a swat over the covers for a six, but Ben Dwarshuis ensured that there were no more fireworks from his bat.
Tom Cooper and Finch continued the assault though to carry their side to 57 in the powerplay. Nathon Lyon, who joined the squad following the conclusion of the Test series against Pakistan, gave only three in his first over before Finch slog-swept him for a six to bring up the fifty-run stand. Dwarshuis came back to end the 72-run association but Finch reached his half-century at the other end from 38 deliveries. At 124 for 3 after 15 overs, Renegades were poised for a big finish but they lost their skipper in the very next over to Johan Botha. Their momentum was lost after the wicket and it took a couple of huge sixes over 100 meters off Callum Ferguson for them to touch 170, which in the end, still proved to be a little short.
Brief scores: Melbourne Renegades 170/6 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 57, Tom Cooper 39, Callum Ferguson 39; Ben Dwarshuis 3-35) lost to Sydney Sixers 171/4 in 19.3 overs (Daniel Hughes 41, Michael Lumb 31; Thisara Perera 2-26, Sunil Narine 2-30) by 6 wickets.

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