The match in a tweet: Classy Sixers trounce misfiring Heat on the back of skillful Vince-Silk stand and all-round bowling effort #BBL08
The score: Sydney Sixers 7-177 (Vince 75, Silk 41, Lalor 5-26) defeated Brisbane Heat (Abbott 3-18, Curran 3-16) by 79 runs
The hero: James Vince oozes class and his effort on Sunday evening was his best yet for his new BBL club. In his third game, the Englishman cleverly linked up with Jordan Silk for a 94-run fourth-wicket stand to turn the game after a sluggish start. Vince, who was given two lives (more on that below) had only struck five fours when he brought up a 36-ball fifty, a testament to his skill at getting off strike before he and Silk upped the ante in the second half of the Sixers innings. The pair smashed 78 runs off just six overs – including 17 off one Mitch Swepson over - before Vince's departure with three overs to bowl.
The supporting cast: Two wickets, one maiden and three runs. It's a return few spinners have boasted from two Power Play overs, but Stephen O'Keefe's early efforts landed a decisive blow. Max Bryant faced four dots off the left-arm spinner before being bowled, as O'Keefe closed out a maiden from the first over of the innings. To then only concede three runs off his second over – bowling to Bash Brothers Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn no less – was a mighty effort from O'Keefe, who has now rocketed back to equal top among the competition's leading wicket takers with 16 scalps at 16.50.
The maiden scalp: Lloyd Pope took the JLT Sheffield Shield by storm with an eight-for in his second match, a haul largely on a wicked wrong'un. But having received feedback before the season that he needed to improve his stock ball, he's worked hard at developing a more potent leg-break. And after going wicketless in his first two games for the Sixers before being dropped, the flame-haired cult hero gave a mouth-watering glimpse of his potential after earning a recall on Sunday with a conventional leg-break that completely undid Jimmy Peirson. The Heat batter was completely deceived by the sharp-spinning delivery from Pope and was duly stumped. Pope then claimed the massive wicket of McCullum - some great signs for Sixers (and Australian cricket) fans.
The non-Sixers: Should the Sydney Sixers change their name after their batting effort on Sunday? The men in magenta struck just two 'Sixers' from their 20 overs – both off the blade of Vince – yet still managed to score at nearly nine runs per over. It was a tremendous demonstration of how batters can be effective in T20 cricket without necessarily being power hitters. There's perhaps no better example of that than Silk, who struck 41 off just 26 balls (a strike-rate of 157.69), hitting just four boundaries (and no sixes) to again prove his value in this competition.
The yorkers: Tom Curran finished with 3-16 for the Sixers and while his wickets came when the game had well and truly been put to bed, his elite death-bowling was something to behold, clean bowling Ben Cutting and Lalor with textbook yorkers. The England quick with a canny resemblance to Draco Malfoy has cast a spell in the death overs during BBL08 – could he do the same at this year's World Cup?
The consolation act: Contributors were few and far between for the Heat, but Josh Lalor was a rare bright spot. The left-armer removed both openers in the Power Play to put the Sixers on the back foot early, before returning at the death to stymy the home side after the Vince-Silk partnership had the, looking on track for a total pushing 200. If his efforts with ball in hand weren't enough, Lalor took a handy catch to remove Moises Henriques before launching a glorious cover-driven boundary from his first ball off Pope when he got his chance with the bat.
The save: Not bad for an old codger, eh? Brendon McCullum may be 37 but he remains one of the competition's most athletic fielders, saving a certain boundary with this effort on the long-on rope. A 2013 rule change ensured he kept it to just two runs.
The drops: Catches win matches and Brendan Doggett will be ruing the two missed chances he put down off Vince. The first was difficult; Vince hit it so high it nearly went into orbit but Doggett did manage to get two hands to it running in from the on-side boundary before spilling it. The fast bowler then fluffed another three overs later off Mitch Swepson, giving two huge let-offs to the game's top scorer.
The next stops: With five wins from 10 games, the Sixers shoot up to second with the win, setting up an intriguing top-of-the-table (assuming they aren't leap-frogged between now and Wednesday) clash with the Hobart Hurricanes. The Heat were spared earlier this week when a power outage saved them from likely defeat to the Thunder, but there was no such luck on Sunday. With one of the most dynamic batting units in the competition, Brisbane have seriously underachieved with just three wins from nine games – they have a full week to find the answers, with their next game against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on January 27.
Sydney Sixers XI: Daniel Hughes, Jack Edwards, James Vince, Moises Henriques (c), Jordan Silk, Josh Philippe (wk), Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Stephen O'Keefe, Ben Dwarshuis, Lloyd Pope
Heat XI: Brendon McCullum, Max Bryant, Chris Lynn (c), Alex Ross, James Peirson (wk), Ben Cutting, Jack Prestwidge, Josh Lalor, Brendan Doggett, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman