Billings tonk can’t save Sixers
AT least one Pom had a dig at the cricket on Monday.
Hours after his countrymen were forced to watch Steve Smith and Australia finally celebrate the Ashes in the middle of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Englishman Sam Billings did his best to deliver the Sydney Sixers their first victory of the Big Bash down on the Apple Isle, only to fall five runs short.
Billings wanted to give his all for the Sixers before he joins the England one-day team this week, and the poshly-spoken right-hander was true to his word.
He arrived at the crease in Hobart with the Sixers 3-64 and still requiring 107 runs from 63 balls to reach the 171 runs set for victory by the Hurricanes.
He combined with the unheralded Jordan Silk (45 off 37) for a 60-run fourth-wicket partnership, then tonked Jofra Archer for three consecutive boundaries to set up a thrilling finish.
When Billings launched his good mate and Pommy quick Tymal Mills for consecutive sixes in the final over, Billings needed to clear the fence one last time to win the game.
All he could do was swing and miss.
"I knew he was going to try and bowl wide because it's a short boundary, I tried to get across the stumps, and if you get one away, bowlers can crumble under pressure sometimes," Billings said afterwards.
"'T' (Mills) is a good mate of mine, he's a world-class performer, and we've had some good battles. It was skill versus skill in that situation, I got two away, I couldn't get the third away. That last ball did me with the pace. It wasn't to be."
Billings finished unbeaten on 61 off 31 balls. He lost no admirers.
Like Test skipper Joe Root, his efforts on what turned out a dark day for the Poms on our soil will not be forgotten by the locals.
Mills won for Hobart, but even his figures of 2-42 were nothing to brag about.
If only a few more of Billings' mates wearing the magenta showed similar fight.
The Sixers are without a win in six games and face the humiliation of going an entire summer without a victory.
What a fall from grace for a mob who featured in last season's final.
Cross-town rivals the Sydney Thunder are the only team to achieve the dreaded feat back in the second season of the BBL.
The Thunder would love to embarrass the Sixers in front of their own fans in Saturday's derby at the SCG. The Sixers welcome the return of star Test tweaker Nathan Lyon and the arrival of Carlos Brathwaite, the powerhouse West Indian who did so much damage for the Thunder in the same SCG derby last summer.
The Sixers let Hobart off the hook, giving up 59 runs in the final five overs and 38 runs in the final three overs.
Sixers quick Sean Abbott would have been happy to get back among the wickets, with his 3-27 featuring the key scalps of pocket rocket D'Arcy Short - who tonked Daniel Sams 107m deep into the Bellerive stands - Ben McDermott and George Bailey.