07 February 2020
Henriques: Sixers ‘in overdrive’ for BBL final
Written off before a ball was bowled, the Sydney Sixers have surprised many on their route to the BBL09 Final – but not themselves.
On the eve of his side’s clash with the Melbourne Stars – a match that will be the teams’ third encounter inside the past 27 days – Sixers Captain Moises Henriques hailed the squad’s efforts to feature in the final game of the season.
“I thought, right from the word go, that this season was going to be a great one for us,” Henriques told reporters on Friday morning at the SCG.
“I was really surprised when someone told me that a few days ago, that we were seventh on the (wagering) markets at the start of the tournament.
“For what other people might have said about our group before the season started, that definitely wasn’t the belief within the 18 players and the coaching staff ... I couldn’t have thought any more the opposite, I would have had us right up there at the top.”
And at the top of the BBL tree the Sixers might soon be again – a place they have not been since winning their only title in the competition’s first season, in the summer of 2011-12.
Surging into the final on the back of four-consecutive wins, Henriques’ Sixers earned the right to host the BBL09 decider at the SCG with a 43-run win over the Stars in the qualifying final last Friday.
Too strong all too often in front of their home supporters, the Sixers had won four of their five regular season matches at the SCG in BBL09. Should ground staff deem conditions unfit for play with wet weather forecast, the Sixers will be crowned champions as the highest seeded team in the final.
But hoping to see the match go ahead as scheduled, Henriques is confident the Sixers can draw upon their experiences in sudden-death cricket in what is predicted to be a rain-affected match on Saturday night.
“What you need in a (five-over match) is similar to what you need in overs 18, 19 and 20 anyway… it’s something that you do practise most of the time anyway,” Henriques said.
“There’s not any new skills to learn, the game just gets put into overdrive. There’s not really much you can do to practise for it.
“There’s a huge element of execution in those five overs, (or) six overs or nine … but we’re here speculating as to what might happen tomorrow.”
Despite rain forecast to continue to fall in Sydney across Friday night and throughout Saturday morning, Henriques rejected at suggestions the Sixers could be already declared the BBL09 premiers.
“At the moment we’re just the hosts of the final – to already be calling a T20 game off? It only takes 50 minutes to [constitute a] game,” Henriques said.
“We’ve prepared as per (usual). We had our team meeting today after finding out who we are playing, we’re completely expecting at least some sort of game of cricket to go on tomorrow.
“Any contest tomorrow would be a win for the fans and the viewers … we’re so excited to be able to play in front of a sold-out home crowd.
“It would be fantastic for that to go ahead.”