Evergreen Dan Christian has surely silenced the knockers with yet another T20 masterclass to return the Sydney Sixers to the top of the BBL table.
The 37-year-old globetrotter showcased all his experience to hit the winning runs off the final ball and finish with 61 not out from 38 balls and seal a three wicket win over the Brisbane Heat on the Gold Coast.
The BBL can often fade to background summer noise these days but this was a genuinely exciting finish to a terrific game of cricket.
Chris Lynn (56 from 44) top scored in the Heat’s 148 all out, with Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissed from the final ball of the innings.
Sixers import Carlos Brathwaite took the outstanding figures of 4-18 from 4 overs before Sydney captain Daniel Hughes (51 from 35) appeared to be steering his side to safety.
But the quickfire dismissals of Hughes, Brathwaite then Steve O’Keefe left the Sixers teetering at 7-133 and their hopes resting entirely on Christian’s broad shoulders.
The last over, bowled by Xavier Bartlett, had a bit of everything.
Christian told tail-end partner Jackson Bird ‘leave it to me’ and sure enough he hit Bartlett’s first ball for six.
He was dropped by Jack Wildermuth in a tough outfield chance then shed skin diving desperately to get back for two and avoid a run out.
The scores were tied on the final ball which Bartlett overpitched and Christian swung away to the leg side boundary for four.
Christian brought up 5000 T20 career runs and 250 wickets in the match.
“It was high drama, wasn’t it?
“You’ve just got to trust what you’ve done over the years and what you do at training,” Christian told Fox Cricket.
“When the bowler misses you’ve got to be able to execute.
“We’re winning the close ones but we don’t feel like we’re playing our best cricket yet.
“I just love winning.”
And so do the Sixers.
The defending champions lured Christian from Melbourne this season in what might prove the best buy of the BBL.
Adam Gilchrist indicated some in the BBL world had questioned the move.
“It was brilliant recruiting in the off-season because Daniel Christian, many may say starting to age, is he of value still, has he used it all up?
“But not a chance,” Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket.
“What a campaigner, across from the Melbourne Renegades where he was integral to them winning a title as well.
“He’s just paid great dividends.”
Added Mike Hussey: “When T20 started people said it would be all about the youngsters. But experience matters. They keep their head.”
The win lifted the Sixers (25 points) back above city rivals Sydney Thunder (23) as they take turns playing pacesetter.