Dane van Niekerk was the difference between the two sides as she put in an all-round performance as she contributed in every discipline to give the Sydney Sixers an important win. The Brisbane Heat had looked on course for victory but lost regular wickets in pursuit of the win and fell 9 runs short.
The Sixers had faulted of late and needed a win to get them back on course with six sides still in the hunt for the four semi-finals. It was a win that sees the Sixer move above the Heat in the standings.
With South Africa having an international series against India at the start of February it means the Sixers will be without Marizanne Kapp and van Niekerk for the latter stages of the tournament.
The Sixers intent was clear from the start after winning the toss Ellyse Perry. The Sixers captain along with Alyssa Healy exploded out of the blocks. Healy who had been hitting the ball well in previous matches without going on to post a commanding score made up for that today.
The damage was done in the back overs of the powerplay as Healy hit Delissa Kimmince out of the attack with three fours from her first over, she followed it up in the next over with a six from the first ball of the sixth over.
The Sixers were 61 for 0 from the powerplay and they were intent on keeping the scoring at that level.
When Perry fell in the eleventh over for 25, the Heat finally started to rain back their opponents, Ash Gardner struggled to get going only scoring one run from her first five balls before Deandra Dottin dug one in short and Gardner looking to pull her didn’t have any room to get her hands through the ball and Jemma Barsby took the catch at mid-wicket.
When Healy was out for 70 the Sixers had lost four wickets for 20 runs. The Sixers had at one point looked to be on for a score of 170 plus. They were then looking for around 145 when Haidee Birkett bowled a ball that landed off the cut strip and van Niekerk used the free hit to smash it for six.
It saw a late flurry of runs for the Sixers and they finished on 160 for 5.
The Heat is known to prefer to chase and with an opening partnership of Beth Mooney and Kirby Short their faith is well placed, the two put on 94 for the first wicket. Mooney looked at her attacking best and hit a four and six from the first over of the usual economic Kapp.
The wicket of Short saw a collapse at the wrong time for the Heat as Short and Mooney fell within seven balls. It was, of course, Van Niekerk who saw off Mooney; it was a rank full toss that probably would have been called a no-ball if Mooney hadn’t advanced towards the ball and hit it straight to deep mid-wicket.
Dottin had looked to keep the innings going having hit van Niekerk for a six and four in consecutive balls but the West Indian international was bowled from van Niekerk’s final ball to leave the Heat in trouble of not getting over the line.
The Heat could not escape van Niekerk who took three catches. In the end, the Heat ran out of steam as well as balls to fall to an agonising defeat.
Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat
Sydney Sixers 160 for 5 (Healy 70, Barsby 2 for 19)
Brisbane Heat 151 all out (Mooney, Aley 3 for 31)