Insane catch, brutal dismissal sum up Heat’s wretched night as quick’s five-for leads Sixers into home Big Final
The Sydney Sixers will host the Big Bash League decider after captain Moises Henriques’ half-century and a five-wicket haul from Ben Dwarshuis secured a 39-run qualifying final win over Brisbane Heat.
Henriques made 59 from 50 deliveries in a 94-run third wicket stand with Daniel Hughes (42 off 33) to lift the Sixers to 8-152 after being asked to bat on the drop-in pitch at Heritage Bank Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The skipper rotated his bowlers to perfection in the field and the Heat collapsed in a heap to be bundled out for 113 in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,191.
Left-armer Dwarshuis (5-21 off 3.5 overs) got the wicket of opener Josh Brown (15) and then removed the dangerous Matt Renshaw (16) and allrounder Paul Walter for a golden duck in consecutive deliveries in the power surge to put the result beyond doubt.
Jack Edwards played a key role for the Sixers, taking four catches – including a one-handed stunner off his own bowling – two wickets and made 16 off eight deliveries at the top of the order.
That catch summed up the night for the two teams, as did Michael Neser’s brutally unlucky dismissal – swinging lustily at Dwarshuis to start the 16th over, he’d only manage an inside edge onto his foot, with the ball looping away and then, as if magnetised to the stumps, taking a wicked turn to disturb the bails.
Crouching in despair as Dwarshuis celebrated, the popular all-rounder knew, at 8/90, any lingering hopes of chasing the 63 remaining runs had gone.
“It stopped, it spun, it waited – and then it knocked off the zings!” Fox Cricket commentator Mark Howard exclaimed.
“He just watched it – he couldn’t do anything, Neser.”
“It’s like there’s a magnet in the ball – it just got sucked back towards the stumps,” former great Michael Hussey added.
“Poor old Neser cannot believe it.”
The Sixers will line up at the SCG in their seventh BBL final on Wednesday, while the Heat will welcome the winners of Saturday’s knockout clash between Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers for Monday’s challenger final.
The Sixers bowlers suffocated the Heat batters to push the run rate required over 10 by the halfway mark of the innings in a collective effort that has been a hallmark of their season.
No Sixers player made the BBL team of the tournament but they have proven themselves to be a real unit.
The Heat’s bowlers had fought back at the death of the Sixers’ innings to limit the damage after Henriques had made Brisbane pay for blunders in the field.
He was dropped twice in the same over off Michael Neser when he was on 20 and 21 – once by wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson and then in the outfield by Matt Renshaw.
The Sixers skipper then unleashed to march to his fifth half-century in BBL finals.
Hughes and Henriques took 38 runs from the power surge, bowled by Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett, as the Heat’s fielding fell away.
Johnson started on fire, bowling at more than 140 km/h and with accuracy, and had Josh Philippe (five) caught behind with his second delivery.
The 28-year-old did not concede a run in his first 10 balls and took 1-1 in his final over to finish with 2-14.
His 18 dot balls were the most by a Heat bowler in BBL history.
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Neser (3-27) helped get the hosts back in it with late wickets just as the Sixers appeared set for 180-plus, but the Heat were unable to mount a fightback with the bat.