Lloyd Pope has hailed the Sydney Sixers’ depth and selflessness after they banked a 30-run win and bragging rights in a rain-affected BBL derby.
Daniel Hughes (50) clattered five sixes before man of the match Dan Christian finished unbeaten on 41, heaping more misery on the Sydney Thunder’s attack in a 17-ball cameo.
The Sixers scored 4-168 from a 16-over innings that was interrupted twice because of showers at Showground Stadium.
The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method meant the Thunder’s target was bumped up to 173 from 16 overs.
Jason Sangha’s plucky 47 and Daniel Sams’ four sixes gave the hosts hope but the escalating required run-rate proved too much, with Pope snagging two key wickets to help roll the Thunder for 142.
Pope praised the Sixers’ unbridled aggression with the bat after the second rain delay, which came when they were 1-49 from seven overs.
“It’s always a bit odd when there is a bit of rain around. We had a look at the forecast and it was pretty shocking,” Pope said.
“So we were like ‘we’d better make the most of it, see what we can do and wickets don’t really matter’.
“Credit to our batters, they were really selfless and will put the team first in any situation.
“We’ve got some seriously good batters down the order, so it was great to see Hughesy make some runs then DC finish it off.
“It shows the depth of our team.”
Pope, shouldering a bigger load at the Sixers because of injuries to fellow tweakers Steve O’Keefe (calf) and Ben Manenti (neck), was another sign of the Sixers’ depth.
The 22-year-old legspinner dismissed Sam Billings and Alex Ross as the Sixers made it five wins from six games this season, setting an ideal platform to pursue a third straight title.
“We’re sitting top or second, I don’t think we can really fault how we’re going,” Pope said.
Fellow youngster Mickey Edwards also excelled for the men in magenta, having replaced offspinning debutant Todd Murphy at the halfway point of Sixers’ innings.
X-factor substitute Edwards ended an entertaining knock of 28 from Sams, while he claimed catches in the deep to dismiss Matt Gilkes, Alex Hales and Nathan McAndrew.
The Sixers had hoped to inject Pakistan legspinner Shadab Khan, recruited after English pacemen Tom Curran and Chris Jordan returned home, into their XI.
But Shadab sat in isolation on the sidelines throughout the contest as he waited for the result of a COVID-19 test.
“The plan was to sub him in if he got cleared,” Pope said.
The Thunder host Perth Scorchers at Manuka Oval on Tuesday, while the Sixers’ season continues with a SCG match against Brisbane Heat on Wednesday.