GOLD COAST, Australia: Nicholas Pooran smashed an exhilarating half-century. Still, West Indies teammate, Carlos Brathwaite, hit a cameo in a quick-fire stand with top-scorer Daniel Hughes as Sydney Sixers edged Melbourne Stars by one wicket with a ball to spare in the Big Bash here Boxing Day.
Chasing a challenging 194 at Carrara Oval after Pooran’s 26-ball 65 had energized the Stars, Sixers recovered from a nightmare start when they slumped to five for two in the second over to get over the line thanks to captain Hughes 96 off 51 deliveries.
With Sixers still facing a tall order of 68 from 32 deliveries when West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder perished in the 15th over for 18 at 126 for six, Brathwaite arrived to belt four and two sixes in a 12-ball 21, adding 47 off 23 deliveries with Hughes for the seventh wicket.
Brathwaite eventually holed out on the hopes at long-off in the penultimate over off seamer Liam Hatcher and Ben Dwarshuis (0) and followed a couple of balls later in the same over. It appeared Sixers were choking when Hughes, who struck half-dozen fours and seven sixes, picked out mid-wicket with four runs needed off three balls.
However, Steve O’Keefe missed a swing at a high Glenn Maxwell full toss, which clipped his thigh and resulted in four leg byes, to see Sixers to victory.
Sent in earlier, Stars were going nowhere at 49 for four in the ninth over until Maxwell belted a sensational 71 off 47 balls in an entertaining 125-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Pooran.
Maxwell struck five fours and five sixes, but it was Pooran who produced a stunner with two fours and eight sixes – the latter an array of savage pulls and audacious drives.
In one over from fast bowler Ben Dwarshuis – the 14th of the innings, which cost 26 runs- Pooran lashed three sixes and a four en route to a 17-ball half-century.
He perished off the last ball of the 18th over, hauled in on the ropes at long-off by Holder, who had earlier claimed West Indies teammate Andre Fletcher for four in the first over of the innings to end with one for 26 from four overs of pace.
Stars then found themselves in control of the contest when Jack Edwards and James Vince perished without scoring in successive overs as Sixers stumbled badly at the start of their run chase.
But Hughes put on exactly 50 for the third wicket with Josh Philippe (22) before finding a Brathwaite partner to bolster the innings further.