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Sydney Sixers captain Nic Maddinson conceded his team misses Brett Lee but expressed complete confidence in Sean Abbott bouncing back from Strikers batsman Travis Head's New Year's Eve mugging at Adelaide Oval.
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Strikers claim nailbiting BBL win
Dazzling century by Travis Head leads the Adelaide Strikers to a nailbiting five-wicket victory over the Sydney Sixers.
The Sixers must win Saturday's match against the Perth Scorchers at the WACA to remain in the hunt for a finals berth after Head blasted 101 off 53 deliveries — including 56 from the final 15 balls he faced — to win the game.
Abbott copped the full brunt of a knock described as perhaps the greatest struck in the Big Bash League when his second-last over was hit for 27 runs. Head then hammered each of the 23-year-old all-rounder's first three balls of the final over for six.
Head blasted nine sixes but Maddinson is adamant Abbott will pinpoint what he could have done better and use the findings to become a better player.
"Sean is pretty disappointed but he can't be too hard on himself," said Maddinson. "I know he's not happy but he'll reflect on what he could've done better.
"I thought he bowled two very good overs and I set up for Sean to bowl the last two overs, as we need someone who is going to be a very good finisher.
"We're missing Brett Lee, the guy we used to rely on a lot is gone, so we need someone to step up and take the role. I thought [Adelaide] was a good opportunity for [Abbott] to do it.
"I was sitting next to Sean in the change room after the game and he was definitely upset, but, as I kept saying 'It's a game of cricket, there's a lot worse we could be doing'."
Maddinson said the match further highlighted how badly 39-year-old Lee - who retired at the end of BBL04 - was missed by the franchise.
"I think what's been disappointing is in the last two games I've done a pretty good job restricting [the opposition's scoring] up until the 15th over . . . the Renegades and Adelaide . . . but we couldn't close out and that's the biggest hole he leaves," Maddinson said.
"Brett was quite reliable for two-or-three out of the last four-or-five overs, you could always rely on him to do a pretty good job, so that's where he's missed and someone is going to have to step up."
Maddinson made special mention of 21-year-old paceman Ben Dwarshuis's effort to bag 3-25 before answering how he's coping with the captaincy after a calf muscle injury finished Moises Henriques' campaign.
"I try to stay relaxed, there's definitely times when I'm angry and upset, but I'm staying level and trying to instil confidence in the bowlers," he said.
"It's about giving the guys confidence by knowing their plan is going to be backed up by me whether at times I agree with it or not. I think I need to support them and work to their strengths."
Maddinson drew criticism from some quarters after being dismissed LBW for a golden duck when he tried to reverse sweep spin bowler Adil Rashid but he maintained it was an appropriate stroke.
"I practise it a lot so I don't find it different to any other shot I play. You base shot selection on where the field is; the type of bowler and the situation of the game," he said.
"There'll be a lot of people who'll disagree but if you can exploit a field and get a boundary, it might help you somewhere else. We know how tight T20 cricket is so if there is an opportunity — whether it's my first ball or 50th — I'll look to play the shot."