Billings’ big-hitting rescue act falls just short for winless Sixers

Departing Englishman Sam Billings did everything but complete a miraculous run chase against the Hurricanes in Hobart on Monday as the Sydney Sixers slumped to a sixth-straight loss this season.

Billings needed 18 runs off the final three balls and dispatched two sixes off countryman and good mate Tymal Mills before failing to connect with the final delivery, left stranded on 61 from 31 balls and five runs short of victory.

It was his final act for the Sixers this season – he and teammate Jason Roy will leave the winless Sydney outfit on Tuesday to link up with the England one-day squad.

And while winless this season and unsure if he’ll return to Sydney next season, Billings takes plenty of form into the international limited overs fixtures after producing the best Sixers innings of the summer.

“The last ball just did me for lack of pace,” Billings said.

“I just had to get across my stumps and just hope he came into my arc. It held up a little bit, I just got through the shot a bit early.

“Bowlers do crumble under pressure sometimes. To be fair to him he’s a world class performer, ‘T’ [Mills], and a really good mate of mine, we’ve had some good battles.

“It’s just skill versus skill in that situation, just couldn’t get the third away.”

The Sixers have now emulated their neighbours the Sydney Swans and slumped to an 0-6 start to the season. But unlike the Swans, who rescued season 2017 and still made the AFL finals thanks to champions Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy and co, the Sixers will be doing no such thing.

Hobart, meanwhile, have now won three on the spin and find themselves breathing down the neck of the tightly congested Big Bash top four with a game in hand over most of their rivals.

A gulf in class has formed in the league between the top five, and the Sixers, Sydney Thunder and winless Melbourne Stars.

“It’s just not been a good year but Twenty20 unfortunately is like that, we lost a couple of close games all throughout the year and the margins in Twenty20 cricket are so small,” Billings said.

“You have to be right on, otherwise one bloke has a day out and the game’s gone. We just haven’t played well enough as a unit, whether it’s with ball or bat.

“It’s a real shame because the talent in the dressing room is of top quality really. That basically sums it up.”

Hobart set the visitors 6-170 and looked well on top with Sydney slumping to 3-64 before Billings joined Jordan Silk (45) at the crease.

The pair put on 60 for the fourth wicket to resurrect the run chase and were left with requiring 22 runs of Mills’ final over.

Earlier on, D’Arcy Short set the tone once more for Hobart, picking off 42 from 36, belting a towering 107m straight six in the process – the longest of the tournament so far.

Matthew Wade (41) was very useful while Daniel Christian (28 not out) and Simon Milenko (22) picked off several late-innings boundaries to complete the scoring.

Sean Abbott was the best of the Sixers’ bowlers, returning to form with 3-27.

Meanwhile, Sydney Thunder missed the chance to extend their lead atop the Women’s Big Bash League standings after suffering an eight-wicket loss to the Perth Scorchers at the WACA.

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