Twitter Reactions: Unstoppable Sixers solidify top spot courtesy Philippe's blinder in an adjusted chase

Twitter Reactions: Unstoppable Sixers solidify top spot courtesy Philippe’s blinder in an adjusted chase

Josh Philippe demolished Jonathan Cook, looting 23 runs in the second over of the Sixers' response.

Josh Philippe
Josh Philippe. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

A top-table clash between two franchises from the same city of Sydney – Thunder, and Sixers. It was an ideal setting for both the teams, who have fared fairly better than their counterparts. Winning the toss, the Sixers inserted the Thunder to bat, and Alex Hales had just as much fire in his belly as the clouds over Manuka Oval had water in them.

Having piled 47 from the Powerplay overs – thanks to Hales’ onslaught, who slammed Jake Ball 4,6,4,6 in the 21-run third over, after a sedate first couple overs – the Thunder seemed set for making some hustle, which would be denied to them courtesy of their poor middle-order show.

Middle-order squanders advantage for Thunder

In stark contrast, partner Usman Khwaja (2 from 7) seemed an alien as he failed to get his score moving before a slower ball from Jackson Bird brought the curtains down upon him. Leg-spinner Llyod Pope then struck immediately after the conclusion of the Powerplay as Callum Ferguson faintly nicked a stock delivery behind the wickets to put brakes on the scoring.

The brief passage of play that followed, witnessed a rusty 38-run stand from 32 between Hales and Sam Billings, who, after scoring a run-a-ball 15, unsuccessfully attempted to open his arms against O’Keefe and holed out to Dan Christian in the deep only a couple of deliveries before Alex Hales (54 from 33) fell prey to a nothing delivery in the same over. O’Keefe, who ended with a surreal spell – 3 for 15 – got his third when he pinned Alex Ross LBW cheaply. Had it not been for Daniel Sams’ 37-ball 50, which included 4 boundaries apart from a six, the Thunder would have had to settle for much lesser than the 166 they eventually managed.

Philippe shines for Sixers

A rain interruption seemed round the corner, and it did arrive soon after the completion of the Thunder’s innings. The loss of time beyond the permissible limit meant that the Sixers were looking at an adjusted target of 129 to get from 14 overs for their seventh win of the tournament. In what nearly appeared revenge of Hales’ assault earlier, Josh Philippe seemed threatening during the lightning-quick 50-run opening stand (23 balls) alongside Justin Avendano (17 from 10), as he demolished Jonathan Cook, looting 23 runs in the second over. The partnership, however, came to an end when Avendano mistimed a Nathan McAndrew delivery straight to Ben Cutting stationed at long-on.

Having set the tone early, Philippe (64 from 36) continued batting in his world as Sixers made a slight fissure in their rock-solid chase by two quick blows – first, James Vince deflected Ben Cutting’s slower one straight to his stumps after scoring 7 runs from as many deliveries, whereas Daniel Hughes (7 from 4) failed to clear Daniel Sams at deep midwicket off Tanveer Sangha. The slow-ball ploy of Sixers paid dividends to Sams too, who got Jordan Silk caught at deep midwicket.

Daniel Christian, who slammed a couple of sixes in his 15-run cameo, was given a life on just the second ball he faced, and he made sure to make it count as Sixers clinched the game by 5 wickets and 8 balls to spare (D/L Method).

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