Short-Wade combo ignites to fire Hurricanes into top five
Jordan Silk almost snatched an unlikely win, but the Hurricanes held their nerve to keep their finals hopes well and truly alive
Louis Cameron at the MCG
24 January 2021, 10:10 PM AEST
The scores: Hobart Hurricanes 8-188 (Wade 72, Short 86) defeated Sydney Sixers by seven runs at the MCG.
The match in a tweet: Short-Wade reunite in explosive opening stand, firing Canes to victory despite nervy final-over #BBL10
The points: Hurricanes 4, Sixers 0
The heroes: Look out, BBL, the competition’s most intimidating opening duo is back in a big way.
D’Arcy Short and Matthew Wade played golf on Saturday but they teed off on Sunday with an exhilarating 145-run partnership, the biggest of BBL|10 so far, and their fourth century stand in the competition.
Short needed 36 balls to reach his half-century, and Wade just 27, as the left-handers pasted the Sixers bowlers to all parts of the MCG to lay the foundation of the Hurricanes’ victory.
The pair have developed a unique rapport in recent seasons, and their acceleration after the Powerplay left the Sixers completely without answers for a good portion of the first innings.
They took 53 off the five overs immediately after the initial fielding restrictions lifted but, more impressively, they faced just nine dots between them in the seven overs between the Powerplay and the Power Surge.
The Sixers were under the pump by the time those extra two Surge overs were taken and they looked set to concede another 200-plus total when Short and Wade blasted 29 more from those 12 balls.
While the Hurricanes failed to reach a mammoth total after Wade and Short had departed, losing eight wickets from their final 33 balls, their middle and lower order still scored at nearly eight-an-over to fire them to a match-winning total.
The game breaker: Aided by a pair of inexplicable dropped catches (more on those below), the Sydney Sixers had just wrestled the momentum back in their favour when leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane delivered two decisive blows.
At 3-37 and the required run-rate above 10 with 15 overs to come, Moises Henriques and Jordan Silk batted with poise with a 70-run partnership off just 40 balls.
But when Henriques’ luck ran out when he holed to deep backward square leg, Lamichhane followed it with a cracking wrong’un to dangerman Dan Christian that clean bowled him for a golden duck.
Lamichhane finished with 2-24 from four overs having delivered a match-turning spell.
The consolation act: With 50 required off the last three overs and then 28 from the last six balls, the Sixers looked completely out of it as the game appeared to be fizzling out.
But Riley Meredith sent down two over-waist no balls in his final over and Silk took full advantage, remarkably reducing the equation to 15 required from four balls.
The right-hander looked like he might pull off the heist of the season, but Meredith held his nerve to have him caught on the leg-side boundary – only metres away from another maximum.
It ended a superb knock of 78 from 49 balls from Silk.
The drops: Short was on a high after his superb knock with the bat, but he was swiftly brought back to earth as he put down two simple chances off Henriques on 3 and 32, both at mid-wicket.
The second one, a casual attempt from a miscued pull off Riley Meredith that looped gently towards him, left him looking bewildered and he must have wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole when Henriques spanked a six two balls later.
Fortunately for him, Henriques departed soon after and the missed chances did not prove costly, despite Silk fighting to the bitter end.
Henriques gets a let off... 😬 Will the Canes rue that one? Live: https://t.co/z6evhjg7YD #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/rRVbH0PffM— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 24, 2021
The self-sacrifice: Bravo, Peter Handscomb.
With Wade and Short flying at the 10-over mark of their first innings, Handscomb went to coach Adam Griffith and actually suggested he be substituted out of the game.
"I’m batting at five to control the middle order," Handscomb told Fox Cricket. "But we’re none down at 10 overs so I’m coming out facing potentially only six balls at the end of the innings.
"So why not bring out someone who can hit a couple of sixes, rather than me just pushing it around for ones and twos?"
The Canes had originally planned to sub out swing bowler Nick Winter if they bowled first. But their supreme start and the fact they had all their wickets in hand meant they changed tack and decided to keep the extra bowler.
The shot I: Even by the BBL’s innovative standards, this reverse-back-foot-inside-edged-ramp through fine leg for four from Short was a new one. "It definitely wasn’t intended to be reversed, but I did mean to ramp it," he told Seven.
Good luck finding this one in the cricket textbook! #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/ZBa5aEBGLm— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 24, 2021
The shot II: Josh Philippe does things that makes your jaw drop. Check-driving Meredith, who is bowling as quickly as ever this season, for six over long on was one of those things.
While he was given out lbw for 12, the reminder of his capabilities only adds more fuel to the suggestion the 23-year-old could make his international debut on the upcoming limited-overs tour of New Zealand, with Ricky Ponting suggesting he could even open with Aaron Finch.
WOW 😍https://t.co/TPn7BBgxoK #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/fvSALKZNjU— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 24, 2021
The milestone: Sean Abbott became just the second bowler in BBL history to reach 100 wickets when he finally broke the Wade-Short union in the 15th over. Ben Laughlin, with 110 BBL victims, remains the all-time wicket-taking leader.
1⃣0⃣0⃣ @BBL wickets for @seanabbott77! Just the second player to do it. Well done, Sabba! 👏#smashemsixers #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/BKqfL0qJ7k— Sydney Sixers (@SixersBBL) January 24, 2021
Abbott, playing his first game of BBL10 after returning from Test squad duties, finished with 2-32 from his four overs to finish as the pick of the Sixers’ attack.
The next stop: The buoyant Hurricanes face cellar-dwellers Melbourne Renegades in their final match of the regular season on Tuesday. Win that and they could finish as high as third.
The Sixers, who have already secured a finals berth, now need to win their last game of BBL|10 to have a chance of finishing top. Sunday’s defeat was a hit to their net run-rate though, which now puts the ascendant Perth Scorchers in the box seat to finish first.