February 8, 2020 / 12:41 PM / 19 days ago

Sydney Sixers eclipse Stars in rain-hit BBL final

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sydney Sixers won their second Big Bash League title as they beat Melbourne Stars by 19 runs in a rain-hit final in front of a jubilant crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Josh Philippe’s half century powered the hosts to a competitive 116-5 in a contest that had a delayed start after being reduced to 12-overs-a-side following heavy rain.

When they returned to defend the total, quick Josh Hazlewood and spin duo Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe mowed down Melbourne’s top order to effectively seal the match for the 2011-12 inaugural champions.

Nick Larkin made 38 not out but the Stars never really got going and managed only 97-6 in their 12 overs.

“We improved throughout the season, we kept getting better and I’m just very happy with it,” said emotional Sydney skipper Moises Henriques.

“They are a fantastic cricket team, a very dangerous cricket side. We held our composure very well.

“Our bowlers have been fantastic all season... I’m a very lucky captain to have those five bowlers to call on,” he added also referring to Sean Abbott and Ben Dwarshuis.

Earlier, Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell elected to field after winning the bat flip and had reasons to feel vindicated as his bowlers kept the hosts on a tight leash.

Daniell Worall dismissed James Vince for two and Maxwell (2-17) himself claimed the important wicket of Steve Smith, who made 21 off 12 balls.

Philippe (52) helped the team reach a competitive score and smacked three sixes in his 29-ball blitz.

Melbourne were rocked early in their chase though.

Lyon dismissed Marcus Stoinis in the first over and Melbourne slumped to 18-3 in the third when O’Keefe trapped Maxwell lbw.

Their problems increased when Peter Handscomb ran himself out in the fifth over.

Larkin battled on but his defiance merely reduced the margin of defeat for the Stars who failed in their third attempt to win in the final, having also lost last year and in 2015-16.

“Unfortunately we let ourselves down tonight but they can be proud,” Maxwell said of his team. “Two finals in a row, we’ve been extremely consistent. Onwards and upwards to next year.”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ken Ferris

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