Abbott bowls Sixers to BBL win over Perth

Sean Abbott has bowled the Sydney Sixers to a crucial six-run win over the Perth Scorchers to help narrow the gap at the top of the Big Bash League ladder to one point.

With the visitors chasing 152 for victory, opener Steve Eskinazi's unbeaten 66 from 54 balls was not enough on Sunday as both teams struggled to get going at the SCG.

Abbott was the star for the hosts in claiming 3-18, his tight return coming despite three of his overs being bowled in power-surge overs.

It marked the third straight game Abbott has claimed three wickets, after a quiet start to the season.

"My power surges haven't been great this year," Abbott said.

"I went away and did some planning to be better there, because I am the senior bowler in the side and I have let the guys down there.

"It's just executing more."

Dan Christian also claimed 2-7 in the penultimate over, before Hayden Kerr (2-31) successfully defended the 16 required from the final over to leave the Scorchers on 7-145.

Abbott removed Cameron Bancroft and Aaron Hardie in his opening spell for one run apiece, before he earned the crucial wicket of Nick Hobson late in the chase on the legside boundary.

Until that point, Hobson's 27 from 18 balls had given the Scorchers hope of victory, with one of two big sixes off Nathan Lyon going into the top tier of the Brewongle Stand.

"It's the first time I've faced him," Hobson said.

"It was a nice highlight in there, but it would have been nice to do it in the last over and get us over the line."

Hobson's strikepower came in Lyon's return to the BBL from Test duties, with Australia's newest squad member Todd Murphy squeezed out as the Sixers retained Steve O'Keefe.

Murphy had taken five wickets this season and conceded less than a run a ball, but now faces a fight to regain his spot before leaving for India.

Earlier, Steve Smith showed his value to the BBL in the Sixers' 5-151.

In his first match back in three seasons, Smith hit four boundaries and two sixes in his 36 off 27 balls, as opening partner Josh Philippe also made 57 off 48.

The pick of Smith's shots was was a slog sweep for six off Ashton Agar, while he also played a superb back-foot drive off David Payne.

Another six came when he hooked Behrendorff over backward-square leg.

Smith is on a sizeable marketing deal from Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW to play in the Sixers' final four regular-season games.

And while he fell, caught at cover, off Peter Hatzoglou (2-27), his and Lyon's returns helped the Sixers to their biggest crowd of the summer with 20,304 fans.

The Sixers' win keeps alive their hopes of claiming top spot on the BBL, which would earn them hosting rights for the grand-final qualifier.