Sixers start with a bang

A THRILLING 76 from Brad Haddin has helped the Sydney Sixers cruise to a seven-wicket win over the Brisbane Heat in the inaugural match of the KFC T20 Big Bash League at the SCG on Friday.

The captain was in sensational form – smashing five fours and five sixes in his 59-ball knock – to guide his team to the target of 140 with eight balls to spare.

Nic Maddinson (28 off 32) played his role at the other end, as the pair combined for a 79-run second-wicket partnership.

Heat had elected to bat first but could only set an under-par 8-139 from their 20 overs, led by Dan Christian’s 32, on a slow Sydney wicket.

On return, Sixers leg-spinner Stuart MacGill showed he had lost none of his class with an excellent spell, finishing with 2-21 from his four overs.

Josh Hazlewood (2-24) and Mitchell Starc (2-28) were the other multiple wicket-takers for the Sixers.

Sixers paceman Brett Lee (0-19) ensured the visitors made a slow start, and he forced New Zealander Brendon McCullum to retire hurt after hitting him in the nose with a bouncer in the third over.

Hopes and Matthew Hayden guided Heat to 0-37 from the opening six overs, but the pressure of having to lift the scoring rate proved too much.

Queenslander Hopes, the returning McCullum, Chris Lynn and Hayden all departed in the search of quick runs.

Steven Smith then produced one of the highlights of the night in the field.

The leg-spinner took a catch on the boundary, only to be forced to throw it back into play as he fell over the rope.

But he recovered, making a brilliant catch look easy as he re-entered the field of play and removed Peter Forrest (16).

The Sixers made a bright start to their chase, and Heat got a much-needed wicket when Hopes had South African-born English opener Michael Lumb (18 off 12) hit a leading edge to McCullum at short extra cover.

Haddin led the hosts to 1-44 from their first six overs and they always looked on track to record victory in their opening game.

He smashed off-spinner Nathan Hauritz for consecutive sixes in the ninth over, and at the halfway point of the innings, the Sixers needed just 64 off 60 balls.

Haddin reached his half-century with a six off Nick Buchanan in the 11th over, one of several big shots.

Maddinson chopped an Alister McDermott (1-33) delivery onto his stumps and Haddin also departed after an excellent knock that led the Sixers to the win.

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