Boland back with a bang but Vince vanquishes Stars yet again for Sixers’ crucial win
James Vince has dined out on the Melbourne Stars attack again, leading the Sydney Sixers to a crucial seven-wicket BBL win.
Vince was man of the match with his top score of 79 as the Sixers cruised to 3-157 in reply to the Stars’ 4-156 with 11 balls in hand on Saturday night at the MCG.
The Stars’ bowlers would be sick of the English opener, whose last three scores against them are 91no, 83 and now 79.
Vince had a 99-run stand for the second wicket with Dan Hughes (41) that took the game away from Melbourne.
Asked about his recent record against the Stars, Vince called it “pot luck”.
“I wouldn’t say mastered it (the MCG wicket). We got a few into the gaps,” he told Fox Sports.
“It felt like it was the sort of wicket where you didn’t want to let the run rate climb too high. Scoring at 12, 13 an over in the back end could have been difficult.
“Hughesy played a great knock around me and we managed to find the boundary at the right time.”
The Sixers broke Melbourne’s four-game winning streak and improved to second on the ladder, after the two teams went into Saturday night with Sydney third and the Stars fourth, on equal points.
With two games left before the finals, Sydney have regained momentum after a tough three-game patch when two were rained off and they lost another weather-affected match.
“There were a few excuses running around the camp, about rain coming at the wrong time,” said Sixers captain Moises Henriques.
“That was a really timely win … to get some points on the board and start climbing the ladder again.”
With two games left before the finals, the Sixers could regain Test star Steve Smith for their January 12 derby against the Thunder.
Vince scored 79 from 56 balls, with 12 fours, while Hughes made 41 from 32 deliveries.
The Sixers had reached 128 when Hughes was dismissed at the end of the 15th over and the match was as good as over.
Test paceman Scott Boland returned for the Stars and took 2-38 from four overs.
The Sixers won the toss and after Glenn Maxwell threatened one of his special innings that would have torn the match apart, spinner Todd Murphy responded with an outstanding spell in which he claimed the crucial wicket of the big-hitting Stars captain.
Maxwell went on the warpath and belted four fours and two sixes in his 31 from 14 balls before Murphy struck.
The spinner enticed Maxwell with a wide ball and Sean Abbott caught him in deep cover for a crucial breakthrough.
Murphy was outstanding, also bowling in-form Beau Webster for a duck in his 2-15 from four overs.
Opener Dan Lawrence top-scored for Melbourne with 36, while Marcus Stoinis (34no from 30) and Hilton Cartwright (29no from 22) struggled until late in their innings to overcome tight Sixers bowling.
Melbourne were without wicketkeeper Sam Harper, who is out of hospital after being hit on the head while batting at Friday training, and Peter Handscomb took his place.