The Sydney Sixers have notched up back-to-back wins for the first time this BBL campaign with a seven-wicket win over a sinking Melbourne Stars outfit, in the first match of the Boxing Day double header.
Captain Moises Henriques (52 off 32 balls) led the Sixers to their eighth straight win over the Stars, after they were set 151 for victory at the SCG – but the win could come at a cost with Stephen O’Keefe leaving the field after 11 overs.
Henriques should have been back in the dug out for 30, when Joe Clarke missed a routine stumping off Adam Zampa in the 15th over.
Watch BBL12. Every game live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
GAME TWO LIVE BLOGS: Competition heavyweights go head-to-head in second Boxing Day clash
“It would have been such a vital wicket for the Melbourne Stars,” Fox Cricket’s Brian Lara said.
“They needed that wicket.”
For the Stars, the loss compounds a tough week where they conceded the third-highest score in BBL history on Friday before Monday night’s match where they were accused of needing to “tidy up” their attitude.
Stars coach David Hussey was damning in his assessment of his players working with skipper Adam Zampa after just one win this season.
“We just have to tidy up a few things – a bit of attitude, just focusing on what the skipper does and work with the skipper and execute your plans under a bit of pressure,” he said on Fox Cricket from the SCG.
“Our boys had a crack (against Perth) and competed but we just need to tidy up a few areas of the attitude I think.
“It’s more attitude as in we have a couple of team rules about competing and working with the captain on which plans to bowl to certain players and unfortunately those plans disappeared when the heat was on.
“(We need to) just got to get back to being cool, calm and collected under pressure.”
Lara had been critical of the Stars’ game structure during their innings with the bat too.
“The Melbourne Stars are struggling … there seems to be no plan within their innings,” he lamented.
“It doesn’t seem they are setting themselves up. It seems everyone is just going out and just playing their game.
“The point I’m making is your batting has to have a storyline, it just seems everyone is coming out there and playing their own way – the way they feel comfortable.
“I prefer when you have a game plan and you play within that game plan.”
Commentator Mel Jones defended the Stars’ start to the season given the pre-tournament loss of star Glenn Maxwell.
“It throws the cat amongst the pigeons doesn’t it,” she said.
Without star all-round duo Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile who were both rested for Monday’s clash, Beau Webster stood tall when his team needed him most.
Webster landed some big blows to help lift his side to 5-150 and snared the crucial breakthrough wicket of Kurtis Patterson for 24 to break a 57-run stand.
But he had little support as the Stars sunk to just one win from their four matches, and they next travel to Perth to face the Scorchers on Thursday.
The Sixers won the toss and elected to bowl first, and the move paid off second ball.
Tom Rogers (0) was stumped by a brilliant piece of work by Sixers keeper Josh Philippe, but the joy was short lived as spinner Stephen O’Keefe made his way from the field.
O’Keefe got down low to field off his own bowling and grabbed at his right hamstring.
“He’s just grabbing his hamstring. It doesn’t look that good there Stephen O’Keefe,” Fox Cricket’s Brad Haddin said.
“He has had trouble with his calves in the past. Let’s hope that’s nothing serious.”
“That’s looking very tentative,” commentator Mel Jones added.
“That’s not the face of a man who’s looking 100 per cent fit is it?”
He left the field after the second over and received treatment in the SCG rooms.
But he was able to return to the field one over later, and returned to bowl the sixth over of the game.
He was clearly hampered, and a “little sore”.
“It will be interesting to see how (captain Henriques) Moises uses him. You imagine he wouldn’t want him to cool down,” Haddin said.
“He’s looking a bit ginger out there. I think he’s done something there,” Sixer Josh Philippe told the Fox Cricket commentary.
“He’ll try and get through his last over as quick as he can and get off.”
O’Keefe finished his spell with 1-16 from his four before leaving the field after the 11th over.
Fraser McGurk! Insane catch to deny 6 | 00:28
Stars: Joe Clarke, Tom Rogers, Beau Webster, Nick Larkin, Hilton Cartwright, Campbell Kellaway, James Seymour, Luke Wood, Liam Hatcher, Trent Boult, Adam Zampa (c)
Sixers: Josh Philippe, Kurtis Patterson, James Vince, Moises Henriques (c), Jordan Silk, Dan Christian, Hayden Kerr, Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Stephen O’Keefe, Izharulhaq Naveed
If you can’t see the blog below, click here