Melbourne Stars 3 for 137 (Pietersen 44*, Stoinis 40*, Richardson 2-26) beat Perth Scorchers 7 for 134 (Tye 42, Agar 29*, Beer 2-12, Hilfenhaus 2-15) by seven wickets
Kurtis Patterson (38 not out) and James Vince (28) got the Thunder off to a flying start in their chase of 100 in a must-win contest. Despite Sean Abbott’s double blow, the visitors comfortably marched towards victory with half their overs to spare, courtesy Ben Rohrer’s late blitz.
Vince picked up a liking for Jackson Bird – hitting the pacer for two boundaries and six in his two-over opening spell. Patterson, at the other end, went after the spinners to take his side to 54 in just five overs.
Abbott got the much-needed breakthrough for his side by putting an end to Vince’s fireworks with the first ball of the sixth over, when the batsman’s attempted pull landed in Bird’s hands at short fine leg. Skipper Shane Watson, who came in at one-down, kicked off with a beautifully timed cover drive but became Abbott’s second victim in the same over.
While Sixers would have sensed a chance to stage a comeback, Patterson and Rohrer consumed just four more overs to hammer the required 41 runs for their third consecutive victory. Rohrer, who hit a 13-ball 26, sealed the deal in the final over of Abbott’s spell by picking 18 off the tenth over – including a six and two fours.
Earlier in the day, Fawad (4-14) and Brathwaite (3-21) ran through the Sixers’ line-up to restrict the hosts to just 99 in their allotted overs. What helped Thunder’s cause was that the opposition – middle order in particular – put no genuine efforts in their batting to put up a fight.
The slide began as early as in the third over, when Chris Green cleaned up Michael Lumb (10). The Sixers’ opener showed intent and hit Clint McKay for back to back boundaries in the second over, but couldn’t carry on. His partner, Daniel Hughes, greeted Brathwaite into the attack with a six off the penultimate ball, and collected two more boundaries in the overs to follow, before being struck plumb in front by Thunder captain Watson, keeping the home side to a mere 36 for 2 in their powerplay quota.
Fawad started his spell with a four-run over that further dried up the flow of runs and his twin strikes in the succeeding over triggered a collapse that Sixers failed to recover from. Nic Mandinson attempted to slog the legspinner but instead holed out to Green at mid-wicket. Skipper Moises Henriques, who promoted himself ahead of the in-form Colin Munro, went for the same shot on the other side of the strip and met with a similar fate.
Brathwaite and Fawad inflicted further damage in the next five overs as four of Sixers’ batsmen gifted away their wickets without adding anything substantial to the total. The West Indies’ all-rounder dismissed Brad Haddin and Johan Botha, while his partner sent Munro and Abbott packing to finish with figures of 4-0-14-4 as the home side slipped to 67 for 8, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
Ben Dwarshuis (19 not out) added some useful runs with the tail, taking Sixers to a total that looked improbable a while back, but still wasn’t enough to contain the visitors.
Brief scores: Sydney Sixers 99/9 fro 20 overs (Daniel Hughes 20, Ben Dwarshuis 19*; Fawad Ahmed 4-14, Carlos Brathwaite 3-21) lost to Sydney Thunder (Kurtis Patterson 38*, Ben Rohrer 26*, Sean Abbott 2-36) by 8 wickets.