Sydney Sixers 187 for 2 in 19 overs (Smith 125*, Henriques 45*, Sandhu 2-42) beat Sydney Thunder 62 (Warner 16, O’Keefe 4-10, Abbott 3-11) by 125 runs>
After Sixers opted to bat, Smith was quickly into his stride, carving his second ball for four, playing a superb back-foot drive against Chris Green in the second over then sweeping Daniel Sams into the stands for his first six.
The home side were briefly set back when Gurinder Sandhu struck twice in the fourth over – Josh Philippe dragging on and Kurtis Patterson top-edging three balls after being dropped – but Smith was in the zone.
There was a period of consolidation where three overs from the fifth to the seventh did not produce a boundary before Smith deposited Joel Davies straight down the ground. That marked a gear change for Smith who went to fifty from 31 balls in an over where he again put Sams into the stands.
Smith’s 125* was the highest T20 innings at the SCG, overtaking Shane Watson’s 124 against India in 2016 and his performances have shone a light on his omission from Australia’s T20 side, even if there were logical reasons behind it.
Henriques’ painful supporting role
The Sixers’ captain had one of the best seats in the house, although he copped a few blows for his efforts. He struggled somewhat early on and was 15 off 19 balls before sending Qadir over long-on, although by and large was able to leave the heavy lifting to Smith.
In the 14th over he was struck a painful blow on the chin when a throw from the outfield bounced on the edge of the pitch and missed his helmet. In the penultimate over he was then in the firing line from Smith himself when a fiercely struck drive off Sams hammered in his thigh at the non-strikers’ end.
In the end, the third-wicket stand ended as Sixers’ second-highest in the BBL and the highest partnership for that wicket in the tournament’s history.
Warner struggles as Thunder slide
He didn’t often have much of the strike – facing just 23 balls by the time he fell in the tenth over – but couldn’t get his innings going and the frustration was clear. Eventually, he spooned a catch into the leg side against the wily Steve O’Keefe as Thunder’s chase fell in a heap. Warner’s final tally was the third slowest double-figure innings of his T20 career.
Thunder have endured some significant batting struggles this season, although with one game remaining can still make the finals.
Lyon sits out again
He will be assessed again ahead of Sixers’ final regular-season match against Hobart Hurricanes on Monday, but there won’t be any risks taken with the proximity of the India tour – plus the fact that Sixers are well-stocked for spinners, at least at the moment. They will have to use their bench strength when both Lyon and Todd Murphy, who bowled very tidily in this game, have departed for India. Smith will have gone, too, by then but has certainly left his mark on this year’s tournament.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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