The Sydney Sixers’ horror start to their Big Bash campaign continued on Saturday at Perth Scorchers notched an emotional win in a rematch of last year’s decider.
Perth players dedicated the victory to teammate Michael Klinger’s family after it was revealed this week his wife Cindy was battling breast cancer which had spread to her spine.
Andrew Tye snared a hat-trick in front of 22,017 fans at the SCG as the Sixers were dismissed for 132 after being sent into bat before Ashton Turner blasted five sixes in an unbeaten 52 to secure the six-wicket win.
Klinger, the competition’s all-time leading run scorer, smashed 71 not out in the final last summer leading Perth to the title, but is taking an indefinite break from cricket to help his wife battle her recently diagnosed illness.
“He’s going through a horrible situation at the moment and we’ll be there for him every step of the way, to go out there and win without him and for him tonight was pretty special,” Tye said.
“We’re giving him as much space as he needs. He’ll approach us if and when he needs to.
“He’s got complete freedom with what he wants to do and how he’s going to approach this because it’s an unthinkable and unwishable spot for anyone to be in.
“Every time we go out on the park we try to win but the fact that Maxy [Klinger] is at home dealing with what he has to, it always gives you extra motivation because you never know, it can strike at any time with anyone.
“This game, it’s an absolute privilege that we get to do it the way we do it and how we play it. The fact is we don’t take it for granted and we stay grounded.
“Things like this seem to happen to the good guys. We just wish Cindy all the best and hope she recovers.”
Tye ripped through the Sixers’ tail to notch his third T20 hat-trick in this calender year, with Sean Abbott, Steve O’Keefe and Daniel Sams his victims.
But the damage to the home side’s innings had been done long before. Mitchell Johnson, David Willey and Jhye Richardson all took two wickets apiece as the Sixers crumbled to 5-46 in the seventh over before Nic Maddinson and Peter Nevill stemmed the bleeding.
Abbott and O’Keefe then put on 48 for the eighth wicket before Tye added to last summer’s Big Bash hat-trick, and his hat-trick on debut for the Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League.
It left the Sixers reeling at the bottom of the Big Bash table with two losses from as many games, following Tuesday’s final-ball defeat to the cross-town Thunder.
Last year’s beaten finalists will take Christmas Day off but plan to train on Boxing Day ahead of next Thursday’s clash with the Adelaide Strikers at the SCG.
“It’s not a good start to go into Christmas [zero] and two,” captain Moises Henriques said.
“Typically we’ve started quite well in the past. It’s a big worry that the first two scores of ours have been both below 150, there wouldn’t be too many batters going into Christmas feeling too good about the way they’re batting.
“There’s guys showing some decent signs but we need plenty more guys than there are at the moment stepping up.
“I think [Steve] O’Keefe might be our leading run scorer and if your number eight’s your leading run scorer in T20 cricket, it’s not a good sign for you.”
Henriques was dismissed controversially in the fifth over, adjudged caught behind by wicketkeeper Josh Inglis.
The on-field umpires sent it upstairs to determine whether Inglis had gloved the ball before it touched the ground.
“I definitely got bat or glove on it – it was just whether it carried or not. I thought I saw the ball peek into the grass from there but I think when you’re batting you always think that,” Henriques said.