Alyssa Healy, Erin Burns help Sixers get the better of Thunder in the Sydney derby

Sydney Sixers celebrate a wicket © Getty Images

A quick fire 44 from Alyssa Healy and an allround Erin Burns helped Sydney Sixers overcome a magnificent innings from Phoebe Litchfield in a thriller by 4 runs and halt their five-match losing streak in the sixth season of the Women’s Big Bash League on Wednesday (November 18) at the Sydney Showground Stadium.

Put into bat by Sydney Thunder, Sixers had a whirlwind start with Alyssa Healy making her intention clear from the get go. She started with three fours in the opening over bowled by Sammy-Jo Johnson and then took on in-form Samantha Bates in the third with two more boundaries.

Healy was particularly severe on Shabnim Ismail, smashing four fours from the eight deliveries she faced off the South African to take her boundary count to ten. But Ismail had the last laugh when she castled Healy with the wicket-keeper missing a slog. But the start meant Sixers were in a comfortable position of 55 for 1 at the end of power play.

Dane van Niekerk, batting at three again in the absence of Ashleigh Gardner, found it difficult to rotate the strike but used her long levers to good effect. She smashed four sixes during her stay at the crease taking the Thunder pacers over the fence whenever they erred on length.

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Sixers were looking good for a mammoth score with the score reading 129 for 2 at the end of the 16th over. But once van Niekerk was dismissed by Johnson for a well-made 45 their innings petered out to finish at 147 for 7 in the stipulated 20 overs. Only 18 runs came from the last four overs with Johnson and Hannah Darlington combo taking five wickets between them.

Johnson was the most successful bowler for the Thunder; she finished with figures of 3 for 25 while Darlington and Ismail took two wickets each.

Chasing a target of 147, Thunder didn’t have the best of starts as they lost Tammy Beaumont early to van Niekerk’s first ball with the England batter hitting it straight down to long-on. Just as Rachel Trenaman was starting to get into with the groove with a few boundaries Stella Campbell had her trapped in front of the wicket to reduce Thunder to 24 for 2 from 4.3 overs.

Thunder needed experienced duo of Heather Knight and Rachael Haynes to form a partnership to give themselves a chance of overhauling the target. However, the need to keep up with the run rate saw Knight holding out to Burns at long off in the eighth over for 16.

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For a while it looked like Haynes would take her team home when she smashed Ellyse Perry for a couple of boundaries. A full toss from Burns ended her innings as the left-hander hit it straight back to the bowler. Johnson soon joined her in the pavilion to reduce Thunder to 79 for 5 in 13.3 overs still needing 69 from 39 balls.

However, that brought Tahlia Wilson and Litchfield together and the pair reduced the target to 41 from last four overs with five boundaries between them in the next two overs. Once Wilson was dismissed for a 10-ball 15 by Perry it was a hill too steep to climb for the Thunder side.

But young Litchfield was unwilling to give up. She smashed four boundaries in the last seven balls to take her team one hit away from a win but was bowled by Burns in the last ball to leave Thunder short by four runs.

Burns was the most successful bowler for the Sixers, taking 3 wickets for 28 runs while Sarah Aley took two wickets.

Brief Scores: Sydney Sixers 147/7 in 20 overs (Dane van Niekerk 45, Alyssa Healy 44; Sammy-Jo Johnson 3/25, Hannah Darlington 2/27) lost to Sydney Thunder 143/8 in 20 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 46, Rachael Haynes 27; Erin Burns 3/28, Sarah Aley 2/29) by 4 runs. PoTM: Erin Burns

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