The Sydney Sixers beat the Brisbane Heat with an over to spare, largely thanks to a beautiful innings from Michael Lumb, who was unbeaten with 61 off 55 balls. Brad Haddin helped the Sixers get off to a quick start with the bat after his side bowled well to restrict the Heat to just 127. For the Heat, only Luke Pomersbach (37) really got going but when he fell, the home side couldn't find a way to accelerate against some quality bowling. The Heat now need a big win in Hobart next weekend and two other results to go their way to play in the finals.
Roach short and wide and a pair of runs to Lumb. He's been more than happy to hit them high and has found plenty of green grass between fielders tonight. A lovely knock from the Englishman. It's 5-124 and another FOUR from Lumb does the job with an over to spare. Ben Cutting, the Heat's best bowler by a mile, was stranded on three overs as Hopes opted for Roach to deliver the second last ball. The Sixers get the win tonight and the Heat are now long odds to make the finals.
What a shot! 'Comfortably' Lumb smashes a huge SIX off Christian and that might be the winning clout. He has 53 off 50 but more importantly, the Sixers now need eight off 11 balls. And Cutting has been spared here in favour of Roach. Strange captaincy again but maybe Hopes is hoping this goes down to the wire. That's gone high! But it's safe. Just six runs needed now.
WICKET for the Heat and the change of pace does it for Dan Christian. Daniel Hughes doesn't read the change-up and skies one to Cutting, who lopes back and takes a simple catch. It's 5-111 and the Sixers still need 17 off 14 deliveries. Good timing from Christian there. A sniff of intrigue here now.
Michael Lumb played for Queensland in the pre-BBL era T20 competition and from memory, went like a busted. He's done much better tonight at the Gabba and moves to a measured 44. The Sixers now need 17 off 15 balls.
Good running from the Sixers and they are galloping off the moment it leaves the bat. Roach back in action for the Heat and you wouldn't think he'd be back in the famous teal shirt next summer. And what's that we just saw! Roach bowled a yorker! And a good one it was too as it fizzed through the air and just missed the stumps. Another dot ball to finish the over and it's 4-108 at the end of the 17th over.
That's a quality shot from Daniel Hughes. Leans back to ease that Cutting short one over Hartley to the fence. Intelligent cricket and he looks pretty handy this kid. It's 4-106 and the win edging closer for the Sixers. Lumb has been the mainstay for the Sydneysiders.
Roach can't do a thing right but his fellow quick, Ben Cutting, is on fire. He gets his second wicket and is bowling one of the spells of the tournament at the moment. He has 2-4 after the WICKET of Smith (caught Forrest) and the Sixers now 4-99 with Daniel 'Don't Call me Phil' Hughes the new man to join Lumb.
Kemar Roach, that is a SHOCKER. Lumb pops it up and the West Indian runs back to take the catch. He gets there easily enough but drops it cold and not only that, he bunts it to the fence for a FOUR. Fawlty Towers cricket at its best there folks.
A relieving FOUR from Stephen Smith off James Hopes. The Sixers aren't exactly in danger but that gets the runs-balls ratio a little closer. Now just 34 from 32 balls required.
Super bowling from Cutting. He has 1-3 from his two overs, making it an even more curious decision as to why he wasn't used earlier by the Heat. He's the sixth bowler used. The Sixers still on top, not quite as comfortably as before, but are 3-86 and require 42 off 36. Lumb has been the rock and is 37 not out.
Cutting does the job and gets the WICKET of Henriques. He's gone for 12 off 17 balls and that Cutting short one came up on him too quickly. He swung, found the top edge and Forrest takes a good catch. It's now 3-83 and another wicket might make things interesting. And nearly another one! Fierce spell from Ben Cutting. Australian selectors will like the look of this.
Great fielding from the Catfish, James Hopes, off his own bowling. Lumb managing to split the fielders to pick up a couple there and the Sixers keep trucking along. It's 2-83 and they need 45 off 42 balls to win this thing. Cutting on for over number two and they need him to break this partnership.
That's a quality over from Cutting. Good, aggressive bowling and he shakes them up a bit there. Just the two from it, what looked like a knock to the Lumb jatzcrackers to finish and that's helped the equation a little. It's 2-76 and 51 from 47 is required.
Good captaincy from me. Cutting is given the green light from the Stanley St end. The Sixers need exactly 54 runs from 54 balls with a heap of wickets left so they must be very confident of steering this ship safely to shore. Good bumper from Cutting to start things off. He doesn't bowl with a great deal of variety Cutting but has had a decent run in the BBL. Needs wickets though. Misfield from Forrest gives up the single It's 2-75.
The Sixers need just 58 off 60 balls now and are 2-70 against the Heat in Brisbane. It's been an easy night from the first ball really, when Sri Lankan spinner Sachitra Senanayake bowled a maiden. James Hopes bowling now and there has been no sign of Ben Cutting, who was just picked for the Australian ODI side. It looks like it might be too little, too late by the time he gets a ping.
Hopes brings himself into the attack. He made a duck from eight balls opening the batting but can generally keep things fairly tight with the ball. The Heat need to build pressure if they aren't taking wickets. Lumb chips a little wedge into the green and gets two, finding it nestle between the outfielders. Henriques gets some runs on the board, getting some luck as it flies past Chris Hartley. That's another FOUR as Christian tries to make further inroads. It's 2-67.
Wide called against Dan Christian and that's a harsh one. Beat Maddinson with the change-up but finds some success very next ball, having him caught in the deep. A desperately needed wicket for the Heat and it's 2-58. They need a few more in a hurry to make this a contest. Henriques joins Michael 'Comfortably' Lumb at the wicket.
Another FOUR for the Sixers. Haurtiz getting a thorough beatdown and the Heat looking like a team that need a spinner and a few power hitters next season. Hauritz is worked to the onside and it's 1-56 after seven overs. James Hopes needs to find a few ideas in a hurry or this is over.
McDermott goes for a pair of boundaries and the Sixers under a run per ball now with nine wickets in the sheds. Should be a walk in the park from here you'd think. Nothing going right for Brisbane - McDermott gets the edge from Lumb but it evades Hartley and races away for the third FOUR of the over. That's the second best power play in the BBL thus far this season. The Sixers coasting at 1-49 after six overs.
Hauritz not causing many problems either. It's 1-37 after five overs. All bad for the Heat. Someone needs to step up with the ball in a hurry.
Roach is bowling very quickly but not doing a great deal of thinking. He drops that short and Lumb bangs it away to the fence with a classy pull shot. Wouldn't mind seeing the West Indian pitch one up a bit from time to time. Too short again and this time Maddinson cuts him for FOUR. Ordinary bowling from Roach in the power play and the Sixers settling into this chase nicely. It's 1-29.
Nic Maddinson is the new man for the Sixers as they resume their chase of the Heat's 128. McDermott has six wickets in the BBL and is turning into a very good bowler across a few forms of the game. Bowls a very consistent line and length, which Kemar Roach needs to do as he rolls in for his second over.
Crunch. Brad Haddin shows no mercy to Alistair McDermott, who gets one short of a length mashed through point and it finds the fence. But he gets his man the very next ball and Haddin is OUT chopping on. He's gone for 16 and the Sixers are 1-20.
Kemar Roach is the other opening bowler and Haddin gives himself some room but can't beat the fielder at third man. Lumb works one away off his pads and this is easy pickings for the Sixers at the moment. It's 0-15.
The Sixers ready to roll and a good start would almost be enough against this small total. Haddin and Lumb open the batting and Nathan Hauritz has first crack. Bowling spinners first is all the rage in 2013. It hasn't worked quite as well for the Heat mind you as Haddin swings Hauritz away to the fence for FOUR. And Haddin, thinking to himself ' was this guy really our Test spinner?', goes again, this time it's a SIX. The Sixers 0-12 after one over. Cop that.
Hauritz has been a handy addition to the lower order for the Heat tonight. That's his second FOUR and these are very useful runs. There's two more to boot as he gives himself a bit of room against Hazlewood and finds some room on the off side. Roach about to face his first ball of the entires BBL - and the final ball of the innings. He hits is HIGGGGHHHHHHH in the air and is caught for a DUCK. My Lord, that nearly made it rain. Golden duck though and it's 9-127 for the Heat. The Sixers need 128 for victory. Well bowled.
Hazlewood will bowl the final over for the Sixers. They need to keep the brakes firmly on the Heat and not let it slip right at the end, although it can't really slip too much. They'll fancy this chase, no doubt. And that's a fair start - Forrest holes OUT to Daniel Hughes for 21 and it's 8-118 as Kemar Roach takes strike.
Lee called for a wide and that's the first extras of the innings, can you believe. That gives you an indication of how tightly the Sixers have bowled tonight. They've given the Heat very little. It's 7-118 with one over to bowl.
Brett Lee strikes! Chris Hartley continues to find fielders and pays the price, cracking one to Henriques at point and departing for 10. The Heat are 7-109 as the powerful figure of Nathan Hauritz makes his way to the middle. Strap yourself in for this. And he dinks Lee over the keeper's head for FOUR first ball! The Heat on track for their lowest BBL score btw - that was 7-133 against the Renegades on a goat track at Etihad.
That's the 100 for the Heat. Better late than never. They need to get to at least 130 you'd think to have something reasonable to defend. Not too many big hitters left. This pair very correct and traditional in their approach. Full toss on leg and Forrest gets three. That was fruit and should have been dealt with - the Heat not able to put away the poor balls tonight, although there hasn't been too many. That finds the fence though. FOUR off Hazlewood and the score ticks along to 6-109 with two overs remaining.
Binger back in action and is right on the button. Beats Hartley with the first ball before the little keeper gets one away for two runs. The Heat have never really recovered from that first over maiden and have battled ever since. The Sixers have bowled very well as a unit. Nobody has been off their game. Hartley finding the middle off Lee but is also picking out fielders superbly. Gets some luck that time as a bottom edge beats Haddin and races to the fence. It's 6-99 with three overs to play.
DROPPED. Cutting slams one straight at Dan Smith off O'Keefe and that hurts. That hurts even more - next ball Cutting smashes it to the fence for FOUR. And... now he's OUT. Gets white line fever, dances down the track, misses, Haddin does the rest. Cutting out for 10, the Heat ice cold at 6-90 with four overs to play. Chris Hartley the next man to bat.
That's high and wide and long but O'Keefe can't quite get there as he bolts along the boundary. Forrest is a bit lucky and picks up three runs. Cutting flailing at that one but hasn't found the middle yet. Runs coming but not enough for the Heat, who haven't got going all night against some tight bowling. Feldman has been pretty good, changing his pace well and keeping the Heat guessing. It's 5-86 after 15 overs.
That's a more orthodox shot from the Heat and Forrest beats the field to find the fence off Feldman. There was more f's in that sentence than a Shane Warne voicemail to Marlon Samuels. Cutting squeezes a few runs off O'Keefe there to keep the score ticking along. It's not pretty at this point and O'Keefe doing a fine job tonight. Just three runs from that over and with six remaining, the Heat are 5-77. Ouch.
What about that. Luke Feldman CLEAN BOWLS Chris Lynn and the neon bails light up as the off stump cartwheels away. Awful shot from Lynn - just hung the bat in the air and it went straight past and the Heat have lost 4-13. This could be their season over right here. They are now 5-70 and Peter Forrest, not a known tonker, has a job on his hands.
The collapse is on at the Gabba. Dan Christian smacks one down the ground off O'Keefe but Steve Smith rounds it up. He's OUT for two, the Heat now 4-67 and they'll need something seriously impressive to get out of this mess. Ben Cutting strides out to the crease.
Dan Smith takes a lovely catch on the run back off Feldman and Pomersbach is OUT for 37. The Heat 3-66 and it is in fact Chris Lynn at the crease. He's been clobbering them of late and needs to deliver some quick runs tonight. The Heat well below par at this stage.
That's the halfway mark and it's 2-59. Joe Burns told Fox after his dismissal that 170 would be nice. I'd like to win the US Masters but that's not going to happen either. Pomersbach is 31 and he needs to be the man here for the Heat I think. They have plenty of batting left and Ben Cutting is warming up on the bench for the Heat. I'd say he'll be sent up the order to try and get a few runs going. Pomersbach whips one to the fence there and moves to 35. It's 1-64.
Joe Burns is OUT. Tried to muscle Hazlewood through the leg side but it goes straight up and Smith swallows it. Burns goes for 27 off 19. The Heat 2-57 and that's a key wicket. That partnership was starting to look pretty handy. Dan Christian the new man with the bat.
Senanayake will bowl out all his overs here. He's still proving bothersome and Pomersbach comes up with a wacky reserve sweepy type thing to try and get some runs. It's enough for a single and a chuckle. Burns on strike and makes this one count - that's punished to the fence for a FOUR and the Heat bring up the 50 at just over a run a ball. Now they've zoned in on the mystery spinner. Another FOUR and that's ruined the figures. Senanayake ends the ninth over and his involvement with the ball, with 0-19 off his four overs.
Nice shot from Pomersbach, who deflects Josh Hazlewood and picks up a few runs. The misfield helped and now he stands and delivers but Smith rounds it up and he just gets the single. None of the Heat batsman really able to get stuck in so far. Good bowling from the Sydney side up to this point. 'Up to this point' being the important phrase there as Burns leans back and smashes Hazlewood for SIX. Heat need to fire some shots and they do so. It's 1-47 after eight overs.
That's a poor ball from Feldman and Burns helps it on its way down legside to the fence for FOUR. Burns moves to 14, with Pomersbach on 22 and the Heat now 1-36. Feldman had changed his pace pretty well bit that was too easy for the Heaters.
Rank outside edge but it's good enough for a FOUR to Pomersbach. Binger does him for pace but his swipe at the full one flies to the fence. The Heat getting some runs now and move to 1-30 as Luke Feldman comes into the attack against a few of his Bulls teammates.
Senanayake missed out on the Sri Lankan ODI squad but is performing nicely tonight. Obviously, just as I type that, he is swept to the fence for FOUR by Joe Burns. He's bowled 15 dot balls and has conceded his nine off just three balls. The Heat settling after the early Hopes dismissal but will want to get cracking soon I suspect. It's 1-21 aftger five overs as the field spreads.
Brett Lee into the attack. You may remember him from his Test career, duets with brother Shane and a variety of Indian music videos. He's not too shabby in the BBL and that hits the bat hard as he charges in from the Stanley St end. Wouldn't say this is a flying start for the Heat. The old two-spinners-to-open-the-bowling trick has bamboozled them. And Pomersbach DROPPED by Henriques at point. Smashed right at him and bounced off the chest. Let off for the Heat leftie.
Joe Burns the new man in and he'll face Senanayake, the Sri Lankan mystery spinner (get Googling). Hopes looked all over the shop before his dismissal there. And Senanayake causing problems. Gets one to rip away and it beats the bat of Pomersbach before the heat finally get him to the fence. They took 12 balls to get him away. It's 1-13.
Spin everywhere. So many spinners. Steve O'Keefe is thrown the ball by Haddin at the other end and Pomersbach gets him away for a couple. And that's a bit better from the Heat as Pomersbach hits O'Keefe for a whopping SIX down the track. Hopes still struggling to get bat on one - and now he's OUT. Hopes gone for a duck, caught by Brett Lee after a rank top edge. The Heat 1-9.
The Sixers have opened the bowling with off-spinner Sachitra Senanayake, who I can confidently say James Hopes hasn't seen a great deal of. Nor I. Hopes is battling here and over-reading the spin if anything. And he's started with a maiden. Fair start for Sydney. It's 0-0 after one over.
The Heat wave (I did that deliberately) hasn't quite made it to Brisbane thus far, so the players aren't going to be melting like they would in the southern states. In fact, it's a positively gentile 25.8 degrees at the moment with a light south easterly blowing. Kemar Roach is out there sipping a mint julip as I type and enjoying the evening.
The Heat will open the batting with James Hopes and Luke Pomersbach, with Joe Burns, Dan Christian, Chris Lynn and Peter Forrest expected to do the bulk of the damage with the bat. Ben Cutting, the new Australian, ODI player adds some lusty hitting down the order. Phwoar.