James Vince has piloted defending champions Sydney Sixers into another Big Bash League final at the SCG, making a mockery of a target of 168 in his side’s qualifying final against Perth Scorchers.
The table-topping Sixers were forced to host the clash in Canberra, having failed to play a single game at home this season because of border closures.
Vince ensured the only drama at the end of the game revolved around whether he would reach three figures.
The Englishman was stranded on 98 not out when AJ Tye ended the game with an anticlimactic bouncer that was rightly called wide.
The Sixers wrapped up a nine-wicket win with 18 balls remaining at Manuka Oval, thanks largely to a dominant opening stand of 92 runs between Vince and Josh Philippe (45).
It was the first of their two wins on Saturday night, with Cricket Australia confirming the SCG will host the season decider regardless of the Sixers’ opposition.
“Our fans have shown tremendous support for us as we’ve travelled around the country — and deserve the chance to see us in action at our home ground,” Sixers general manager Jodie Hawkins said.
The Scorchers have been given the green light to host their semi-final, against either Sydney Thunder or Brisbane Heat, at Perth Stadium on Thursday night.
Vince made Perth pay for putting down chances he offered on four and 23.
Vince brought up his half-century when a scrambling Richardson failed to stop a six, although it would be tough to call it a dropped catch.
Philippe, who earned man-of-the-match honours in last year’s final, played a classy knock after dropping a costly catch in the first innings that helped Josh Inglis lift Perth to 6-167.
The dashing keeper-batsman set the tone at the start of the chase.
Philippe scored 13 runs off Jhye Richardson’s opening over of the innings, flicking a 148.3 km/h bouncer from the BBL’s leading wicket-taker over the leg-side rope.
Sydney’s victory equation was 78 runs from 67 balls after Philippe’s dismissal, leaving Perth with limited room for error as they attempted to build pressure on Vince.
Earlier, Jordan Silk lived up to his reputation as one of the BBL’s best fielders by calmly pocketing catches on the rope to remove dangerous batsmen Ashton Turner (33) and Colin Munro (30).
The Scorchers lost key wickets at key moments.
Inglis finished 69 not out after being dropped on 40 by Philippe.