Sydney Sixers survive Asif Ali’s blitz to seal opening win

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Sydney Sixers 137 for 6 (Philippe 43, Dooley 2-19, Shadab 2-32) beat Hobart Hurricanes 131 for 7 (Asif 41, Abbott 2-32) by six runs via DLS method

Sydney Sixers survived a late onslaught from Asif Ali to thwart Hobart Hurricanes on a slow SCG surface and register their first victory of this BBL season.

Rain delayed the start by an hour and reduced the match to 14 overs per side. There were some eyebrows raised when Sixers captain Moises Henriques elected to bat but it proved a masterstroke.

Defending 138, Sixers’ bowlers relished returning to their favoured SCG as they stymied Hurricanes, who were never really in the hunt until Asif’s astonishing 41 off 13 balls almost snatched a remarkable late victory.

Asif nearly conjures a miracle

Hurricanes were dead and buried, needing 45 off 10 deliveries until Asif had other ideas. He proceeded to smash 22 runs off Hayden Kerr’s next four deliveries, with the last being a six off a full toss around waist height that should have been called a no-ball.

Needing 23 off the final over, Hurricanes’ chances increased considerably when quick Naveen-ul-Haq bowled a wide on the first delivery and then he was smashed for a boundary by a red-hot Asif.

Sixers’ players looked ashen-faced as their stunned fans sensed a massive meltdown. But Asif holed out on the next delivery to finally snuff out Hurricanes’ chances.

Mixed bag for Sixers’ batting line-up

Sixers were keen to make amends after sloppy batting displays in losses to Strikers and Scorchers.

After a topsy-turvy batting effort against Hurricanes, Sixers still have not had a batter score a half-century this season although they reached a competitive total due to strong bookends.

Openers Josh Philippe and Kurtis Patterson finally fired with a 68-run opening partnership to get Sixers off to a flier. Patterson, who holds a Test average of 144 from two matches, was a revelation last season as an aggressive opener for champions Scorchers.

After returning home to Sydney, Patterson made his first impact this season with a 25-ball 38 to lay a strong platform with Philippe. But their good work was undone after a collapse of 5 for 16 before Kerr hit an invaluable 32 from 20 balls at the death.

Kerr, who made 42 against Scorchers, continues to make a compelling case to move up the order.

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