How Do The Sydney Sixers Keep On Keeping On?

This image is a derivative of Syd Sixers vs Mel Stars_022 by Mathew F (CC BY 2.0)

The reigning BBL champions Sydney Sixers have been without key premiership players Moises Henriques, Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood this season, yet, once again, we find them right up the top of the ladder.

Plenty of pundits expected the Sixers to drop off the pace in BBL|10 given Curran’s late withdrawal, in addition to the inclusion of several key BBL|09 title-winning members in the Australian Test squad.

Yet, there’s just something about Greg Shipperd’s Sixers that just keeps on finding a way, even when they seem weakened on paper, and even with Jackson Bird missing the early part of the season through injury.  

After stumbling in their run chase in their opening game to Hobart, Sydney thrashed the Renegades before knocking off the Strikers by 38 runs.

While they head into Boxing Day’s Grand Final re-match against the Stars as outsiders, it's worth exploring just how the Sixers remain so relevant and ready for yet another tilt at BBL hardware. 

RELATED: Factors That Influence Success In The Big Bash League

How Have They Done It? 

Of all the sides in BBL|10, the Sixers have lost the fewest wickets per batting innings. They’ve also never lost more than six wickets, which holds them in good stead. The tail has never been required to chip in.

The thing is there’s no one single stand-out batsman among the magenta line-up, instead the load has been shared, suggesting maturity among a squad who all understand their roles.

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Josh Philippe grabbed plenty of attention with his 95 against the Renegades, but he’s actually only scored seven runs in the other two games. He can be inconsistent.

Veteran Dan Christian, who has won silverware in T20 leagues around the globe in 2020, has been an under-rated addition for his big hitting, but he’s fifth in total runs scored behind James Vince, Philippe, Dan Hughes and Jordan Silk.

They’ve got six batsmen who’ve scored between 105-65 runs in total in their three matches which would offer most fans confidence. They’re hardly household T20 names, but they all play a role and play it well. 

On the flipside, they’re also the side with the equal most wickets taken per game, alongside premiership favourites Melbourne Stars.

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This is fundamental stuff when it’s come to cricket, but despite their line-up on paper, the Sixers are getting the fundamentals done.

It’s worth noting the two sides down the bottom, Brisbane Heat and Perth Scorchers, have the lowest wickets taken per game average which is compelling for BBL success.

In the Sixers’ three games, they’ve taken eight, 10 and seven wickets, meaning they always get into the tail and restrict their opponents.

Again it’s a shared load too, with no superstars doing the heavy lifting. 

Instead, Ben Dwarshuis has taken seven wickets, followed by Steve O’Keefe with six, then Christian and Carlos Brathwaite with four each, while Ben Manenti has also chipped in with three.

Check out all of Stats Insider's BBL Player DNA Visualisations

In essence, the Sixers have six batsmen doing their job and five bowlers doing theirs, including an all-rounder who may be the recruit of the BBL season. It’s not rocket science, but clearly, the stats don’t lie.

These Sixers are all about depth, sharing the load and making sure they either hold their own, or soar beyond, in all facets of the game. 

Currently, the Stats Insider Futures model is pegging them as a 16.8% chance to claim what'd be a record-equalling thirdBBL crown. That places them as third favourites, and once again a very solid prospect of being in the thick of the action once the whips start cracking. 

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Ben Somerford

Ben Somerford is the former WACA/Perth Scorchers media manager who spent years travelling around with the side in the BBL. He’s currently a freelance journalist, with stories regularly featured on Cricket 365. He’s written for global publications including AAP, Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and many more. He’s the founder of popular cricket Fantasy website Honeyball BBL. Follow him on Twitter 

@BenSomerford

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