The SportingJournal

Ponting Blasts Sydney Sixers

Hobart Hurricanes have defeated the Sydney Sixers by seven wickets on the penultimate delivery of their T20 Big Bash clash at the SCG on Boxing Day.

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Ricky Ponting leads Sixers to a win. Credit: Tom Griffiths/TSJ

With 154 on the board, Sydney’s amalgamated side of tough old heads and wide-eyed prodigies weren’t up for the challenge and subsequently buckled under the weight of expectation after coming off a lucrative and defining Champions League victory.

For the past 14 years, Ricky Ponting would be found relaxing on Boxing Day late at night, ready for another salivating day of cricket in Melbourne, but for a change ‘Punter’ was plundering a white-ball around at the SCG for his beloved Tasmanian side in a T20; a format non-existent during the bulk of his career.

Ponting’s Boxing Day Test average of 58.17 was bettered in this encounter as he scored an unbeaten 63 from 52 balls against a man he tossed the ball to on so many occasions in Brett Lee.

The sporadic head-to-head battle of two Test veterans made for intriguing viewing, but despite Lee’s 1/21 off four overs, one could argue that Ponting got the better of his ex-Australian teammate.

In the 16th over, Ponting pulled Lee in front of square for four and then followed it up with a 77 metre hook shot into the construction site at the SCG.

Ponting’s six however brought about a change of ball, which appeared to swing more and favour Sydney’s quick bowlers at the death.
Tim Paine was caught at cover by debutant Kurtis Patterson for 9, but it was Aiden Blizzard’s exuberant stroke play that put the Hurricanes in an auspicious position.His 48 from 30 balls included six fours and one maximum before he was bowled by QLD cop Luke Feldman with the score on 95 in the 13th over.

Despite Ponting’s exciting stroke play, Sydney lost the game as a result of their below par fielding as they dropped two catches and looked as though they were trying to pick up a cake of soap in the bathtub.

Brett Lee’s usually safe hands spilled a high ball that came down with ice on it as this was compounded by Narine’s no-ball six which was followed up the next ball by Travis Birt who cracked another bomb over cover this time.

Feldman’s spell which yielded 2/21 off four overs tightened the screws in the latter overs and more importantly deprived Hobart’s batsmen of boundaries.

With 9 off 6 and then 5 off 3 required, Moises Henriques bowled a rank full toss that Owais Shah flicked to fine leg for four and then top edged a ball over the keeper to bring up the winning runs.

Earlier, Brad Haddin and Michael Lumb signalled their intent for the Sydney Sixers with a 57-run opening stand from 35 balls.

Haddin’s audacity was exemplified in a Jason Krejza over, where he hit the former Australian tweaker over cover for consecutive boundaries. At one point, the duo hit six boundaries in eight deliveries before Haddin chopped on, admitting that, “It probably wasn’t the right shot to play at that time.”

Lumb went two runs later for 34 off 22 balls after being adjudged LBW to the bowling of Xavier Doherty (2/26 off four).
From 2/77 off 10, Henriques accumulated singles before chipping a ball to cover while Dan Hughes began slowly before hitting two sixes in his 17 off 13 balls.

The Sixers lost 4/10 in eight balls which blunted their push for late runs, which was largely a result of Ben Laughlin’s 4/31 from four overs that included 12 invaluable dot balls.

With four losses on the trot, Haddin admitted his side could have played much better.

“I think we need to take a bit of what Ricky did well tonight,” said Haddin. “We probably didn’t respond to it well tonight.”

“It means we can play with a bit of freedom in the next few games.”

The Sixers are only above their cross-town rivals Sydney Thunder on the ladder, while Hobart sit a respectable fourth and play their next match on New Year’s Day against the Perth Scorchers at Blundstone Arena.

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