Col­lapse big blow to Six­ers’ ti­tle shot

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Cricket - JU­LIAN LIN­DEN

THE Syd­ney Six­ers blew their gift-wrapped chance to host a Big Bash semi-fi­nal af­ter one of the most hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feats in the tour­na­ment’s his­tory.

Need­ing only to avoid a flog­ging to lock up the first semi-fi­nal at the SCG in five years, the Six­ers were whipped by 94 runs af­ter crum­bling to 74 all out — the fourth-low­est to­tal in BBL his­tory.

Led by a ruth­less bat­ting dis­play from Glenn Maxwell, whose 82 off 43 balls was more than the en­tire Six­ers team man­aged, the Stars leapfrogged Bris­bane Heat to snatch the last play­off berth while leav­ing the Six­ers scram­bling to pick up the pieces.

“I don’t try look­ing at the fu­ture too far but I def­i­nitely didn’t see this com­ing,” Six­ers cap­tain Moises Hen­riques said.

“It was prob­a­bly our worst field­ing per­for­mance in the tour­na­ment. And I don’t even know where to start with the bat­ting. I’m just happy we got that game out of the way tonight and not next Fri­day.”

All the talk about the Six­ers steam­ing to­wards their first ti­tle since 2012 has now dis­ap­peared with­out trace af­ter one af­ter­noon of car­nage.

The Six­ers would have fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son in sec­ond and earnt a home semi­fi­nal if they had just made 108 in re­ply to the Stars’ 6-168.

In­stead they dropped to third place, just be­hind the Rene­gades on run rate, so will re­turn to Mel­bourne on Fri­day for the sec­ond semi-fi­nal, while the Stars will play the table­top­ping Hur­ri­canes in Ho­bart 24 hours ear­lier.

Few could have pre­dicted the Six­ers would col­lapse so dra­mat­i­cally af­ter their toporder bats­men went into yes­ter­day’s match in great form, pil­ing on the runs as they racked up four con­sec­u­tive wins.

But once the first wicket fell, the rest just dropped like domi­noes as they were bowled out in less than 14 overs.

Dan Hughes was the top scorer with 12 and their em­bar­rass­ing to­tal of 74 was 25 fewer than the pre­vi­ous worst by a Six­ers team, and 14 be­low the low­est from any team this sea­son. At least it wasn’t the worst of all time.

That un­wanted record is held by the Rene­gades, who were skit­tled for 57 in 2015, also by the Stars.

Good luck pick­ing the win­ners of the Big Bash be­cause the form guide go­ing into the play­offs won’t of­fer many clues.

The Stars cel­e­brate af­ter dis­miss­ing Sean Ab­bott yes­ter­day.

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