James Vince’s masterful 95 and magnificent catch have delivered defending champions Sydney Sixers a 27-run win over Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League final.
Vince’s unbeaten 98 helped the Sixers crush Perth in last week’s qualifying final at Manuka Oval, where AJ Tye’s wide ended the match and denied the right-hander a shot at a ton.
The Englishman, asked to bat first in front of a sold-out SCG on Saturday night, picked up where he left off while marching the Sixers to a total of 6-188.
Momentum ebbed and flowed during a drama-laden chase that finished with the Scorchers at 9-161.
Vince delivered a pivotal turning point while patrolling the covers in the 15th over of Perth’s innings, moving sharply to his right and clutching the ball after it was belted at him by Mitch Marsh.
“I have really enjoyed my time here and I’m lucky to be the one getting the rewards tonight. I cannot speak highly enough of everyone … in the franchise,” man of the match Vince said.
“Everyone stood up at different times (this season).”
Left-armer Ben Dwarshuis removed Marsh and Josh Inglis in the decisive first over of Perth’s power surge.
The visitors required 69 runs from the final overs, an equation that proved too much in front of 25,295 jubilant fans that attended the Sixers’ first home game this summer.
Jackson Bird starred with the ball, delivering eight dot balls and dismissing openers Cameron Bancroft (30) and Liam Livingstone (45) after Perth raced to 0-43 in four overs.
The composed former Test paceman’s figures of 2-14 from from three overs made him the most economical bowler in the fourth season-deciding final between the rivals.
Former Test spinner Steve O’Keefe, who dropped a swirling skied edge when Livingstone was on one, went at 6.5 runs per over to also help win his – and the Sixers’ – third title.
Vince picked gaps and stroked 13 boundaries, demonstrating impeccable timing against a star-studded Perth attack led by the BBL’s leading wicket-taker Jhye Richardson.
As was the case in Canberra, discussion at the ground quickly turned to whether the 29-year-old would become the Sixers’ first batsman in BBL history to celebrate a century.
Marsh and a diving Bancroft put down chances in the deep during the 15th over of Sydney’s innings, when Vince was on 82 and 92 respectively.
Marsh held a catch at the start of the following over, helping veteran legspinner Fawad Ahmed end Vince’s game-changing knock.
The most glaring mistake from Vince, who pocketed two catches, was a shambolic mix-up with the BBL’s player of the tournament Josh Philippe.
Philippe was run out by Tye, who was booed when he bowled and batted because of the anticlimactic end to Vince’s dig in at Manuka Oval, after both openers ended up at the striker’s end.