The defending champion Sixers have been the strongest side in the BBL this season, excelling in setting targets close to 155 and effectively limiting the opposition when playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The team has a stellar record of defending 77 percent of scores under 160, far surpassing the league-wide average of 32 percent over the past five years.
Despite their strong defensive prowess, the Sixers made the unconventional decision to bowl first in the final match, ultimately finding themselves chasing a target of 167 on a pitch that had been challenging for scoring throughout the season. Vice-captain Daniel Hughes acknowledged the hindsight of the decision, suggesting that the team believed the pitch would improve for batting under lights. He also noted that they could have restricted the opposition to a lower total if given the opportunity.
However, the team faced additional challenges before the match, as captain Moises Henriques tested positive for Covid, forcing him to keep his distance from the players and spectators. Hughes expressed the team’s disappointment in not having their leader present, emphasizing Henriques’ significant role in their success.
The match also marked a bittersweet moment for retiring spinner Steve O’Keefe, who was just one wicket away from reaching 100 BBL wickets. Despite the near miss, O’Keefe confirmed that he is fully retired from the sport and will not be swayed by the prospect of achieving the milestone in another season.
Reflecting on his time with the Sixers, O’Keefe expressed pride in the team’s achievements and his personal contributions, emphasizing the special place the SCG holds in his heart. Despite falling short of 100 wickets, O’Keefe remains grateful for the experience and success he has had with the team over the years.