The Sydney Sixers returned to the top of the BBL standings on Sunday night as worrying signs emerged for the Adelaide Strikers on the Gold Coast.
Defending champion Sixers had been upset by the Brisbane Heat at The Gabba on Saturday but rebounded strongly to register an emphatic seven-wicket victory over the Strikers.
The victory means the Sixers (5-2) edged out city rivals the Sydney Thunder (5-1) at the top of the table, despite the latter having a game in hand.
Fourth, Adelaide (3-4) scored 4-150 at bat first, but the remarkable Rashid Khan (3-18) was their only threat with the ball.
Back to back Strikers sixes
When Khan took his third wicket the Sixers had a few slight swings in speed, but experienced James Vince (45 steps out) and Jordan Silk (38 steps out) secured a comfortable victory with two overs to spare.
Former Australian stars Mark Waugh and Brad Haddin both aimed at Adelaide’s lackluster performance.
“Their lineup on the ground was horrible and their intensity,” said Waugh, an exceptional defenseman, of Fox Cricket.
“It’s kind of a sign of how your team’s culture is when you’re not alive on the pitch and not supporting each other, signs so worrying for the Strikers on the pitch.
Haddin, coach of the IPL Sunrisers Hyderabad team, agreed.
“You judge a team and their identity by doing the little things well and creating an aggressive environment with their presence on the pitch,” Haddin said.
“And tonight they just looked scared.
“They played scared with the bat, a little with the ball but mostly on the pitch.”
In current form, an all-Sydney BBL final is a real possibility this season.
“Both teams are playing well, they both have great teams and they are looking far away from the final two,” said Waugh.
“A lot can change but I like the look of both teams.”
Haddin praised the planning and execution of the Pressurized Thunder.
He also said young Ollie Davies and Tanveer Sangha gave the Thunder a real X factor.
“But the Sixers are coming back (Mitchell) Starc, Moises (Henriques), (Sean) Abbott.
“They will be worthy opponents,” the former Sixers star joked of the Thunder.