Sixers snatch all-time BBL classic at death
Sixers all-rounder Tom Curran produced an extraordinary performance with both bat and ball to end the Thunder's unbeaten start to the Big Bash season with a heart-stopping Super Over win in the Sydney Smash at the SCG on Saturday night.
In one of the most amazing BBL matches ever played, the English import almost won the match in regulation time with a breathtaking display of power hitting before being run out off the last ball of the match in front of a stunned crowd of more than 35,000.
But what he didn't manage to do with the bat, Curran succeeded in doing with the ball, bowling his team's one Super Over to win the match by a single run.
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Englishman Alex Hales had the chance to win for the Thunder with a six off the last ball but could only manage a four as the Thunder made 0-15 off their Super Over in reply to the Sixers' 2-16.
Both teams finished their regulation 20-overs tied on 149 after the Thunder ran Curran off the final ball after he threatened to hand the Western Sydney team their first loss after belting 35 off 17 balls, including a massive six off Ben Dwarshuis into the Victor Trumper Stand.
NERVES OF STEEL
After almost stealing victory in his team's reply, Curran returned to open the batting in the Super Over but was dismissed for a golden duck after getting a thick edge off Chris Morris.
Sixers captain Moises Henriques cleared the third man rope with a scoop after flicking a ball to fine leg for a boundary to help his team make 2-16.
Chasing 17 to win, the Thunder came up just short after Curran held his nerve after his second last ball was smashed by Hales for six.
ALL HAIL THE POPE
A mesmerising spell from Lloyd Pope was all it took for the flame haired youngster to remind everyone just why he's regarded as the most exciting Aussie leg-spinner since Shane Warne.
Still just 20, Pope hasn't been able to break into South Australia's Shield team this season but still has plenty of big wraps after taking 8-35 against England in last year's Under 19s World Cup then 7-87 in just his second first-class match.
Mastering the most difficult skill in cricket takes patience so he's had to wait for his opportunities but bagged five wickets against Pakistan last month when called up by Australia A and provided another glimpse of his rare genius with 3-23 for the Sixers.
Matt Wilkes had no idea how to play Pope before he was stumped for a duck by a ball that drifted past his outside edge after tempting him forward before Morris and Chris Green fell in the same over after being deceived by his wrong 'uns.
LUCKY FOR SOME
Pope wasn't even picked for the Sixers' first match this season but got his chance when Steve O'Keefe injured his calf and kept his spot for Saturday night's match when SOK failed a last minute fitness test.
The Sixers also lost English import James Vince in the warm-up after he was hit on the point of the elbow during a routine throw down in the nets.
He will be sent for X-rays on Sunday.
IF THE CAP FITS
Thunder captain Callum Ferguson swears that he hates the golden cap given to the tournament's run-scorer but was forced to pop it back on his head while his team was in the field after he returned to the top of the list with his second half century of the series.
After a watchful start, he brought up his 50 with a monster six over deep square in the last over off Sean Abbott - who holds the bowler's golden cap after capturing 11 wickets this season - before being run out off the last ball for 52 as his team finished on 8-149 after being 0-48 in the fifth over.
Ferguson now has 156 runs at an average of 78.