Big Bash – Last Ball Thriller
The final Big Bash round of 2014/15 saw the Sydney Sixers face the Sydney Thunder in a local derby at the Sydney Cricket Ground. With Brett Lee’s recent announcement that he would retire from all forms of cricket at the conclusion of the Big Bash Summer, there was no way we were going to miss seeing him for one last time (I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see Mike Hussey or Jacques Kallis again). Earlier results meant that no matter what happened the Sixers would qualify for the finals regardless. But the unfavourable 4th placed finish would not see another game in Sydney.
Off to the SCG where we bumped into Stuart Clark with his family (so tall, I mean really tall), played some kids activities, pink face paint, free MILO – all the pre-game jazz. With a glorious Sydney skyline in the background we settled down to watch the spectacle.
Jacques Kallis scored a composed 56 (43) – meaning the two times this summer I saw him he scored outstanding half centuries (the 97 at ANZ was a beauty). Late hitting from Blizzard (51) saw the Thunder reach a solid 4/154 from their twenty overs. The Sixers unfortunately lost plenty of early wickets, falling to 3/31 and 5/75 at varying stages. Worse, with five overs to go the Sixers still needed 74 to win – Abbott and Silk were in but their scoring had been woeful. Silk was nudging around again and had faced 26 balls for his 22…
The crowd were picking up and starting to leave. A mate who was sitting in another section was already on his way home. It was truly a disappointing run chase to this point.
A six from Abbott in the 15th gave us hope but the return of too many singles saw the required rate still ballooning – 56 was needed from the last 18 balls. Cue mayhem. Silk’s next six balls read 664621 – suddenly the unbelievable seemed believable. 31 needed from the last 12 balls – a boundary but a wicket saw the Thunder claw back ascendancy. Enter the final over, 23 needed for the victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat comeback and Lalor, the bloke who had terrorized the entire lineup with 4 for 6 was bowling.
- 1st ball – 2 runs. We’re tense, this isn’t going to cut it.
- 2nd ball – SIX! Silk got down on one knee and heaved it over midwicket. The crowd are going nuts.
- 3rd ball – SIX! My God, Silk does the same thing but hits it further. This thing went deep into the crowd and we’re going stupid.
- 4th ball – 1 run. Gutted as Silk tries to sneak one fine but fine leg cut it off beautifully. This forced O’Keefe on strike, needing eight off two…
- 5th ball – FOUR! A wide yorker but O’Keefe flung his bat at it, short third man got finger tips to it but it squeezed away for the boundary!
At this point we were all on our feet. We were standing at the tunnel ready to make a hasty exit, but couldn’t take our eyes from the action. A plethora of people all around us, cameras, go pro’s, go pro’s on selfie sticks – we were all there waiting, watching and filming in the hopes of witness the unthinkable. Lalor ran in the for final ball…
- 6th ball – FOUR! A short slower ball but O’Keefe gets it on the pull, sending it backward of square. The crowd are jumping, screaming, willing it to go for four. The fielder in the deep sprints around, all he has to do is get a piece of it, two runs means the Thunder wins, three and it’s a tie and a boundary seals it for the Sixers. A desperate dive and the ball evades the finger tips by centimeters. Millimeters. SIXERS WIN!
We all go ballistic! (See photo above). As we sprint out of the tunnel into the common area behind the stand, all we can see is hundreds or thousands of people doing the same thing. It was surreal, not unlike Lord of the Rings with the horde pouring out of every direction. People screaming, running, waving flags, hugging, cheering. Pandemonium had set in and we were there to witness it.
A match the boys will never, ever forget.