Rebel WBBL|03

Sixers snap back after relaxed week

Allrounder star Dane van Niekerk says taking a step back has helped the Sixers rejuvenate their WBBL|03 campaign

Susie Giese

19 January 2018, 11:16 AM AEST

Allrounder Dane van Niekerk credits a relaxed week on the training track for helping the Sydney Sixers turn around their fortunes after a recent trough of losses.

The Sixers had lost three of their four matches leading into Thursday's clash with Brisbane Heat at the SCG, but found some of their best again to jump back onto the winners' list with a nine-run victory.

Opener Alyssa Healy was back to her best after a lean Rebel WBBL|03 campaign to date, smashing 70 runs off just 43 balls, before falling victim to a brilliant Jess Jonassen catch.

Jonassen takes ripper at SCG

But it was a sight that would have warmed the hearts of fans and her Sixers teammates alike. The 27-year-old had made just 118 runs for the season prior to the match, including five single-digit innings.

"The way she's worked the last two weeks – she’s been hitting balls endlessly – I’m really pleased for her and happy for her that it came off, and hopefully she can do it more often," van Niekerk said.

"We know we can bank on Pez (Ellyse Perry) as a batter, and hopefully Ash (Gardner) can bat to her potential, because I know she can."

Healy heats up the SCG

Van Niekerk had a memorable match of her own, belting what proved to be a vital 44 not out off 23 at the back of the innings.

She followed up with a spell of 2-28 off four overs and took three catches in a player-of-the-match performance.

The South Africa captain, who will soon have to return to her country for national cricket team duties, said the win was an important step for the Sixers.

Match highlights: Sixers stand tall against Heat

"It's just (good) to change the momentum," she said. "We had a few losses, which obviously we're gutted about.

"We needed that win – especially a close game like that – just to see we can close games like that and change momentum going into the business end.

"Personally, I didn't feel like (we were in a rut), but as a team, you always want to win as many games as you can.

"Losing three out of four games is tough. As a team, you start looking for things that are not there.

"The good thing about our team is we keep it simple – that’s what we’ve been doing this week. It’s the most relaxed week we’ve had training-wise, and sometimes you need that."

The win propelled the Sixers into third spot on the ladder, leapfrogging the Heat on net run rate.

The two teams face off again on Friday and, with the Renegades and Scorchers nipping at their heels, wins are vital to strengthen their grip on a top-four spot just two weeks out from finals.