MARLON SAMUELS’S 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 business-class flight from London on Wednesday and ended the Sixers’ troubled campaign with one of the innings of the tournament.
Hales’s electrifying 89 off 52 balls, the second-highest score in BBL2, set up the Renegades’ dominant 29-run victory over the Sixers – who will finish the tournament in seventh place, above only cross-town rivals 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 in 20 overs.
Ravaged by injury and by national selectors, the Sixers have struggled this season though have not helped themselves with some poor fielding – an area once 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,” Sixers general manager Stuart Clark said.
Rather than be an impediment to the Renegades’ Big Bash campaign, Samuels’s 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 there.
The Big Bash, however, will be better for Hales’s presence if his performance 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 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,” Renegades skipper Rohrer said. ”He’s done really well to adapt so quickly, he played beautifully.”
Rohrer made an impressive 57 off only 37 balls against the team which he helped guide to Champions League glory just over two months ago. ”It’s easy batting with those guys – Hales and [Aaron] Finch – who can clear the fence so easily,” Rohrer said.
”It takes the pressure off you and you can just get them off strike and watch the fireworks from the other end. He hit a couple of good ones tonight and it was good to watch.”
Former asylum seeker Fawad Ahmed returned figures of 0-34 with his leg-spin in his Australian domestic debut.
O’Keefe top-scored with 41 for the hapless Sixers.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.