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BBL10 | Match Report: Dan Christian wins a last ball thriller for Sixers against Heat

Sometimes, it’s just your day and today was the day of 37-year-old Sixers all-rounder Dan Christian who won a thriller of a game that went right down to the last ball. Courtesy of a huge six, two scare doubles, a dropped catch, and a full toss in the last over by Xavier Bartlett, Christian got the Sixers past the Heat score of 148 with three wickets remaining. With this win, the sixers now occupy the top position in the 10th edition of the Big Bash League. 

The phenomenon called Daniel Christian

Joining his captain Daniel Hughes with a team score of 54 in the ninth over, the new south wales born Christian rebuilt the innings and took the Sixers to a position from where they could attack. He showed the first sign of aggression in the power surge where he hit Lewis Gregory for four right on the very first delivery. Although in the rest of the over, he couldn’t hit any more boundaries. 

But in the very next over he hit Mark Steketee for 20 runs and announced his arrival at the crease, at the same time ringing the warning bells for the Heat, who until then had controlled the game quite well. 

Apart from boundary hitting, what was impressive was his running, especially the two runs that he ran on the penultimate ball when the team needed three from two and he did not want to expose Jackson Bird to the last ball when two runs would have been required off it. He almost leaped from two yards away from the crease to complete the runs. At the age of 37, he was doing such acrobatics, putting his body on the line, which just goes to showcase his top-level commitment to the team. 

Power surge and the change in dynamics

The power surge has proved vital in the entire tournament and once again it was the game-changer for the Sydney side. Taken in the 15th over when Sixers required 62 off the 36 deliveries, it eased the way ahead for the guests at the Carrara Oval. Gregory, the English all-rounder was hit for 17 runs in the first power surge over where Hughes hit him for three overs. In the second over, Steketee was hit for three huge sixes and conceded a total of 20 runs by Christian, easing out the run rate pressure to a bare minimum. 

Chris Lynn, having captained the Heat brilliantly, made just one mistake in the entire game and that was not saving one of Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman Over for the power surge, especially after the impressive record that he has had in the surge. 

The Bazely intervention

With Hughes and Christian fully set at the crease having built a partnership of 72 runs in 46 balls, and Sixers needing just 23 runs off 22 balls, everything was going in the favour of the Pinks. But just then the Heat skipper Lynn had a last throw of the dice as he called in James Bazley for an over, who had given just seven runs in his previous over. Out of the blue, Bazley not only picked the wicket of Hughes but only conceded four runs. 

In the next over Steketee too just gave away only four runs while removing Carlos Brathwaite alongside. This took the target to 17 from 12 and Bazley was handed the ball once again. This time around, Bazley once again proved to be the right choice as he not only removed Steve OKeefe but gave away just six runs only. Among those six was a brilliantly struck six by Christian who converted a yorker into a half volley and dug it out past the sweeper cover for four. 

In the last over with one run required, Bartlett was hit for a massive six on the very first ball. The tall man Bartlett erred on only two deliveries in the last over, the first one being hit for six and teh last one where after getting eight close-in fielders to save a single, he bowled a full toss on the legs. And those two were enough for Christian and Sixers to take the game away from the Heat. 

Bash Boost drama and the brilliant bowling from Heat

Being able to set only a small target of 149 against an accomplished batting lineup like that of the sixers, the Heat needed some extraordinary bowling and that is exactly what they got. Bartleet and Jack Wildermuth started the proceedings really well, giving nothing away to the Sixers opener. The tight bowling resulted in quick wickets as well, even as there were edges flying over slips and third man and few of the catches being dropped as well. The going was so smooth that Wildermuth was bowled out in his first spell itself. 

The 19-year-old Afghan, Mujeeb too joined the party as he picked crucial wickets of James Vince and Jordan Silk giving a huge setback to the Sixers and their chase. At one stage, it all came down to the Bash Boost point. Sixers had needed 7 from 12 to get the Boost but Mujeeb bowled a perfect over dismissing Silk and giving away just a single in that over. 

With Six required from six, Steketee was called upon. He bowled some brilliant deliveries. The equation came down to two from one and on the last ball, Hughes hawked the only wayward delivery. Over deep square and ran two runs to get the Bash Boost point. 

Heat batsmen did not apply themselves

Earlier in the day, Heat after being asked to bat first by the Sydney team couldn’t just get going as they were unable to read the pitch and tried to score off every ball. This led to some suicidal shots being played by the Heat batsmen. Max Byant, Joe Denly, Wildermuth, and Jimmy Pierson, all got out by playing a shot which they should never have. Especially Widermuth needed to be there at the crease with Gregory who was hitting the balls real nice. Had the 27-year-old Queensdlader stayed there, the Heat could have added another 10-15 runs in their total which could have made all the difference. 

As a result, only Lynn got to a respectable score of 56 from 44 balls. And 149 was never going to be a challenging total, but courtesy of the Heat bowlers, this low-scoring thriller came out to be one of the best games of the tournament so far. 

Ordinary fielding

Known for its high fielding standards, the BBL has been a mine that produces brilliant fieldsmen every year who set new trends. Jordan Silk and Max Bryant have been among the best of the fielder as well. But in this match, Bryant dropped a comparatively easy catch on the boundary lines. And all in all, there were too many dropped catches in the entire game. Lynn was dropped thrice while Christian had two chances one drop and one easy run out of him being missed as well. 

What's Next?

Sixers will now play in the top of the table as well as the cross-city rivalry clash when they play second-placed Thunder at Sydney Showground Stadium on 13th January. The heat will face a re-energized Grenades at the Docklands on 14th.

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