BBL|13 review: Optimism at the Sixers despite final loss

While losing their second Big Bash final in three seasons stung, the Sydney Sixers remain optimistic about the future

Sydney Sixers felt they did “all the right things” to claim the ultimate prize in KFC BBL|13, but fell over at the final hurdle in what they’ve termed an otherwise “successful” season.

Making a fourth final in five years, the Sixers set themselves up for glory having earned hosting rights for the Big Bash’s showpiece event with victory over Brisbane Heat in the Qualifier final on the Gold Coast.

The Heat, however, ultimately got their revenge after they won through to the final and tore through the Sixers at the SCG to win their first title in 11 years.

After falling to the Scorchers in similar fashion in the BBL|11 final – where they were largely uncompetitive chasing an above-par total – Head of Sydney Sixers Rachel Haynes said the result had stung the playing group.

Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat | BBL|13

However Haynes said that, on reflection, the season couldn’t be seen as anything other than a success.

“In terms of the amount of people who attended games, the performances of our playing group across the season, I think all in all it was successful and gives us a really good platform to build on for next year,” she told cricket.com.au.

With Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Josh Philippe re-signing just before the BBL|13 final, the Sixers have secured a core group of experienced players in their attempt to go one better next summer.

And with Jack Edwards, Todd Murphy and the promising Joel Davies also locked in for upcoming seasons, the Sixers believe they possess a strong mix of youth to complement that core.

Edwards plucks outrageous caught and bowled

BBL|13 result: Second (6 wins, 2 losses, 2 no-results), defeated in Final by Brisbane Heat


Most runs: Moises Henriques, Josh Philippe (257)


Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Steve Smith (141.86)


Most wickets: Ben Dwarshuis (17)


Best economy (min 10 overs): Todd Murphy (6.15)


Contracted: Sean Abbott (contracted until the end of BBL|15), Joel Davies (BBL15), Ben Dwarshuis (BBL15), Jack Edwards (BBL16), Moises Henriques (BBL15), Hayden Kerr (BBL14), Todd Murphy (BBL15), Kurtis Patterson (BBL14), Josh Philippe (BBL15), Jordan Silk (BBL15)


Out of contract: Jackson Bird, Daniel Hughes, Steve O'Keefe (retired), Mitch Perry, Steve Smith

International impact

As he seemingly does season after season, English batter James Vince put in another strong stint for the Sixers in BBL|13, averaging over 30 with 244 runs in nine knocks. Underlining his consistency, Vince is the second-highest overseas run-scorer ever in Big Bash history, behind countryman Alex Hales.

Vince sets solid platform for Sixers with 83

When he was on the park, Tom Curran was good again for the Sixers this summer, with four wickets in four appearances at an impressive economy rate of 6.50. However his season will likely be remembered for the wrong reasons, after he received a four-game suspension for intimidating an umpire. Afghan spinner Izharulhaq Naveed replaced young England leggie Rehan Ahmed on the eve of BBL|13, however was not selected for any match, with the Sixers preferring local spin options in Steve O’Keefe, Todd Murphy and Joel Davies.

Season recap with Head of Sydney Sixers, Rachael Haynes

Reflecting on BBL|13

“I think overall it was a successful season despite the fact we didn’t quite get over the line in the final. In terms of the amount of people who attended games, the performances of our playing group across the season, I think all in all it was successful and gives us a really good platform to build on for next year.”

'Oh, Silky's got him': Sixers star reels in boundary line classic

Did ‘all the right things” before final defeat

“They were pretty disappointed (after the final). We felt like we played some really good cricket at the right end of the season. To get that win over in Perth (in the Sixers’ last home-and-away game) was huge to give us the double chance, especially as our record wasn’t so great over there recently, so to be able to break that hoodoo was pretty huge for the club and you could see the way the playing group reacted how much it meant to them as well. And then to beat the Heat (in the Qualifier final) who’d had an incredible season themselves … on their home turf to secure a home final and give ourselves the opportunity to refresh and be ready, it felt like we’d done all the right things leading into that match.”

Henriques muscles Sixers over the line with whirlwind 47no

Importance of stability

“I think that’s something the club’s been able to do over a long period of time, keeping together a core group of players who are very experienced now, (who) understand their own games, understand different conditions and how to perform in pressure situations. There’s no doubt that’s been a big reason for the success that’s been built over a long period of time. Our coach Greg Shipperd plays a fairly big role as well in preparing the players and giving them the confidence to go out there and perform their roles.”

An underrated gem

“It feels like Ben Dwarshuis really went under the radar. He had a huge season for our club; probably bowled some of the best spells I’ve seen in really crucial situations. His season just seems to have gone under the radar but certainly within the club he was very important and played a pivotal role for us.”

Dwarshuis claims career-best five to send Sixers into BBL Final

Retirement of Steve O’Keefe

“He’ll be a huge loss, he was just such a reliable bowler whether that’s his economy rate or ability to take wickets; he can bowl at different phases of the game too, so I think Moises (Henrqiues) felt like he could turn to him at any moment to do what the team required. He is going to be very hard to replace, there’s no doubt about that – there’s not many left-arm orthodox spinners rolling around who can do what he does.”

O'Keefe signs off with the huge wicket of Brown

The rise and rise of Todd Murphy

“He’s incredible. He’s so skilful, and bowled some really good spells this year for us. He varied his pace really well, and I’m looking forward to him playing a more prominent role with the ball.

“It stands out that he just loves the game. He’s the type of player who wants to learn and get better, and I think even between games you can see him make subtle adjustments based on the conditions, or the end he’s bowling at, or boundary he’s trying to get players to hit to. I suppose as an observer it’s exciting to see his development, and I think he’ll have a really big role to play for the club moving forward.”

Looking ahead

“We’re looking at our list at the moment … I think it’ll really be adding to that formula and recipe that has made the club so successful over time. We probably haven’t quite had that conversation about who those internationals are that we’ll target and who we’ll look to get back, but one thing I would say is that we’ve got some good youth coming through alongside those senior players and I think they’ll have a role to play over the next couple of seasons.”

Player to look out for?

“Probably a young one to call out is (20-year-old allrounder) Joel Davies. He made his debut earlier this season for the club, I think he’s a player of the future for us and someone who, over the next couple of years can learn off the senior players and in time bowl a few more overs for us which will be exciting.”