Sydney Sixers players Dan Christian and wicketkeeper Josh Philippe have been savaged over an embarrassing moment in their side's BBL finals loss to the Perth Scorchers on Saturday night. The Scorchers overcame a devastating burst from Sean Abbott to book their spot in the BBL grand final with a seven-wicket win.
Ashton Turner produced a memorable captain's knock, belting an unbeaten 84 (off 47 balls) and combining with Cameron Bancroft (53no off 45 balls) to guide the Perth side home and secure them a home grand final. The pair chased down the Sixers' modest 8-151 with nine balls to spare in front of 41,126 fans at Perth Stadium.
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Things could have been so much different for the Sixers, and the Sydney side will be ruing a squandered opportunity to remove Bancroft when he was on 28 runs. The Perth batter looked destined to be caught out after skying an attempted sweep off Stephen O'Keefe.
The ball hit the top-edge of Bancroft's bat and looped up invitingly for the Sixers fielders, who should have been celebrating a regulation catch. However, Sydney gloveman Philippe and veteran allrounder Christian got in a horrible mix-up, with both players leaving the ball for the other as the chance went begging.
“Christian and Philippe look at each other – yours, no yours … no no no no,” commentator Mark Howard said on the Fox Sports coverage. Aussie Test great and former wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist pointed the finger squarely at the Sixers gloveman, insisting it should always have been his catch.
“He’s got to go – he’s got the gloves on!” Gilchrist said. “You’ve just got to commit to that – you’ve got the wicketkeeping gloves on. It’s that simple.
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 28, 2023
"The home crowd are loving it! They are enjoying this. That should have been shallowed – that’s a keeper’s catch.”
Gilchrist added in the post-match analysis: “This is Under 10s stuff... maybe that’s being harsh on the Under 10s." Fellow Aussie Test great Mark Waugh was equalling scathing about the botched catch from the Sixers, labelling it an "inexcusable" mistake to make.
“They didn’t communicate,” he said. “You can’t afford that. That’s a big blow that one. Philippe looked like he was going towards it, then he’s pulled out. Christian’s (saying) ‘I saw you go’."
HOW DID CHRISTIAN AND PHILIPPE MANAGE THAT! That was a sitter that should've taken! Huge let off for Perth #BBL12
— Davis Harrigan (Digi) 🏏 (@DeadlineDavis) January 28, 2023
Actually embarrassing for the Sixers how poor they’ve been in the field, even after how shocking we were
— B (@__bethlouise) January 28, 2023
Amateur hour from the Sydney Sixes
— Steveo (@StephenThomasC2) January 28, 2023
Perth Scorchers book spot in BBL grand final
Bancroft added another 25 runs which ultimately proved crucial for the Scorchers, with the home side doing brilliantly to recover from a horror start that saw them slump to 3-22 after four overs. Abbott had figures of 3-8 at that point after removing Stephen Eskinazi (four), Aaron Hardie (nine) and Josh Inglis (0) cheaply.
Turner was the key to Perth's revival, cracking nine fours and one six to light up the stadium. The result means the Scorchers will host the grand final next Saturday, while the Sixers have been thrust into 'The Challenger' against the winner of the Renegades-Heat clash.
"It was a bit of a clinic from those two tonight," Abbott said of Turner and Bancroft. "We gave them a couple of opportunities. We didn't field anywhere near our best. We let them back in the game and then they just took it from there."
Earlier, Steve Smith failed to make the most of a golden reprieve but Moises Henriques was able to cash in as the Sixers recovered from a shaky start to reach a respectable total. Scorchers allrounder Aaron Hardie dropped a simple chance at mid-off when Smith was on just 12.
Smith came into the match in blistering form, having belted scores of 36, 101, 125no and 66 in his past four innings. Hardie would have been fearful his dropped catch would cost the Scorchers dearly but English paceman David Payne, who was almost ruled out due to illness, sent Smith packing for 18 with a spectacular diving catch off his own bowling.
Under normal circumstances, Payne would have been mobbed by his Scorchers teammates due to the significance of the wicket and the dazzling nature of the catch. But with Payne battling sickness and quarantined from the rest of the group before the match, he was congratulated by a series of elbow-bumps from his teammates instead.
The Scorchers were guilty of more than one of their own fielding blunders, with AJ Tye dropping a simple chance to remove Moises Henriques on 18. The Sixers captain made the most of the reprieve by hitting 58 off 43 balls, combining with Jordan Silk (47no off 34 balls) to help the visitors recover from a shaky start and reach a respectable total.
Payne finished with figures of 3-33 from his four overs, including the key scalps of Smith and Henriques. Jason Behrendorff snared 2-17 from his four overs in a stand-out display.
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