Big-hitting Smith saves Sixers
Another half-century to captain Steve Smith sees the Sydney Sixers get home by 7-runs against the Hobart Hurricanes at the SCG.PT1M38S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30vt5 620 349 January 16, 2014
Brett Lee lost the war of words but had the last laugh after the Sydney Sixers came back from the brink of defeat to beat the Hobart Hurricanes in a Big Bash League thriller on Wednesday night.
Put to the sword by Tim Paine and Ben Dunk, Lee and Josh Hazlewood turned from villains to heroes in a heartstopping finish to lift the Sixers off the canvas to a seven-run victory which has left them well placed to claim a semi-finals berth.
Big hitting: Steve Smith scored 52 off 32 balls. Photo: Getty Images
The Sixers can seal a place in the semis by winning just one of their final two games but the scenario seemed a lot more difficult after Paine and Dunk smashed 98 runs from 10 overs in a blistering opening stand.
Defending 180 thanks largely to a fluent half-century from Steve Smith, the Sixers were punished early but the spin of Nathan Lyon, Stephen O'Keefe and Marcus North applied the brakes in the middle overs of of Hobart's innings.
The Hurricanes' required run rate ballooned past 10 an over with six overs left but a whirlwind 33 off only 21 balls from Travis Birt set up a nailbiting conclusion.
With the stakes high, it was Lee and Hazlewood who came to the fore, showing nerves of steel at the death.
Hazlewood claimed the prized wicket of Birt before Lee limited Hobart to six in the final over.
Lee had been the talking point for the wrong reasons earlier in the night after unleashing a verbal tirade against Ben Dunk following a line-ball ruling on a low chance when the batsman was on zero.
Dunk was ruled not out by the video umpire after Josh Hazlewood was unsure whether the ball had arrived to him on the full. He later said he was right to hold his ground despite Lee's displeasure.
''If he [Hazlewood] threw the ball up in the air and claimed the catch I would have been happy to go,'' Dunk said.
The Sixers' innings was set up by Smith, who made 52 off 32 balls and shared a vital 77-run stand with Jordan Silk for the fifth wicket.
Despite a strong start from Nic Maddinson and Michael Lumb, the Sixers had been in trouble after losing Moises Henriques and Marcus North in successive overs.
Henriques made 31 off 21 balls and looked set for a big innings until holing out in the deep off Ben Hilfenhaus.