English batsman flies in to flay the Sixers

MARLON Samuels’ misfortune was shared by the Sydney Sixers on Wednesday night as the man called in to replace the injured West Indies star landed the killer blow on the reigning champions’ title defence.

Englishman Alex Hales fought off jet lag after his long-haul flight from London and ended the Sixers’ troubled Big Bash League campaign with one of the innings of the tournament.

Hales’ electrifying 89 off 52 balls, the second highest score in the second BBL, set up the Renegades’ dominant 29-run victory over the Sixers – who will finish in seventh place, above only cross-town rival Sydney Thunder. The Sixers needed to pass the Renegades’ imposing target of 179 off 12 overs if they were to keep alive their finals hopes but could muster only 149.

Ravaged by injury and national selectors, the Sixers have struggled this season though have not helped themselves with some poor fielding – an area which had been their strength. They squandered four chances overall, including two lives to former Sixer Ben Rohrer and one to Hales, and the pair made them pay with a match-winning 112-run partnership off only 63 balls.

”It hasn’t worked out. In this form of the game if you don’t hit the ground running then I think you’ve got problems and we didn’t hit the ground running,” said Sixers general manager Stuart Clark.

Rather than be an impediment to the Renegades’ Big Bash campaign, Samuels’ awful injury could, perversely, end up being a blessing in disguise. Had Samuels not fractured his eye socket, which resulted in him being ruled out of the tournament, and been suspended for his two alleged breaches of Cricket Australia’s code of behaviour, then Hales may not have been here.

The Big Bash, however, will be better for Hales’ presence if his effort against the Sixers is any indication. The 24-year-old, who has played 14 Twenty20 internationals for England, creamed eight sixes – the most by any player in an innings this season. The highlight of Hales’ contribution was the four sixes he smashed off one over from Steve O’Keefe, including one that landed on the roof of the members’ pavilion.

That would not have happened had Josh Hazlewood held on at the end of his first over to a difficult one-handed return chance from Hales, who had smashed him for 22 runs from his previous five balls. ”We were wondering if the flight affected him, let’s hope it has because he might go better on Tuesday night,” said Renegades skipper Rohrer.

Melbourne Renegades D HARRIS st Smith b Senanayake 1 A HALES c Lumb b Henriques 89 A DOOLAN c Lumb b Feldman 5 B ROHRER c Hughes b Hazlewood 57 T COOPER not out 10 W SHERIDAN run out (Lee) 1 P NEVILL not out 6Sundries (2b, 2lb, 5w) 9Total (5 wkts – 20 overs) 178Fall of wickets: 2 (Harris), 33 (Doolan), 145 (Hales), 165 (Rohrer), 171 (Sheridan)Bowling: B Lee 4-0-19-0 (2w), S Senanayake 4-1-19-1 (1w), J Hazlewood 4-0-44-1, L Feldman 4-0-33-1 (1w), S O’Keefe 3-0-50-0, M Henriques 1-0-9-1 (1w)

Sydney Sixers M LUMB c Doolan b Sheridan 21 N MADDINSON c Nevill b Rimmington 9 D HUGHES c Doolan b Sheridan 7 M HENRIQUES c Rohrer b Pattinson 0 D THORNELY c Ahmed b O’Brien 13 S O’KEEFE c Nevill b Pattinson 41 DL SMITH c Sheridan b Pattinson 22 S SENANAYAKE lbw b Rimmington 6 B LEE c Rimmington b Sheridan 10 J HAZLEWOOD b Rimmington 0 L FELDMAN not out 2Sundries (4b, 1lb, 13w) 18Total (all out – 20 overs) 149Fall of wickets: 12 (Maddinson), 41 (Lumb), 41 (Hughes), 46 (Henriques), 66 (Thornely), 120 (O’Keefe), 124 (Smith), 139 (Senanayake), 139 (Hazlewood), 149 (Lee)Bowling: W Sheridan 4-0-28-3 (4w/8), N Rimmington 4-0-27-3, D Pattinson 4-0-34-3 (5w), A O’Brien 3-0-11-1, F Ahmed 4-0-34-0, D Harris 1-0-10-0Result: Melbourne Renegades won by 29 runsMan of the Match: Alex Hales Team P W L NR T Pts NRR Melbourne Renegades 871–140.791 Melbourne Stars 853–100.246 Perth Scorchers 743–80.632 Adelaide Strikers 743–80.530 Hobart Hurricanes 743–8-0.287 Brisbane Heat 734–60.129 Sydney Sixers 835–6-0.380 Sydney Thunder 8-8–0-1.360

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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