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Sydney Sixers tame Lions to advance to Champions League semi-finals

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The clash of the titans of Group B was rather one sided as the Sydney Sixers cruised to a comfortable win beating the Highveld Lions by 5 wickets despite Gulam Bodi's valiant 61 run effort. Shane Watson, who was playing his last game of the tournament, performed yet again with both bat and ball, following up his effort of 2-25 with an excellent 47 from just 38 balls.

Being put in to bat, the Lions began in spectacular fashion, scoring 25 off the first two overs. Josh Hazlewood was called on immediately and he didn't fail to deliver, producing a wicket maiden. With skipper Alviro Petersen out to an unnecessary shot, the scoring rate reduced a bit. The Sixers struck again in the eighth over to see the back of Quinton de Kock for just 4. The Lions lost two more wickets in quick succession, all four dismissals thus far caught behind. As a result the scoring rate dropped quite a bit to reach 6.5 runs per over. Gulam Bodi seemed unaffected at the other end, playing his shots as he moved quickly to 50 off 32 balls with 4 sixes and as many fours. However, the 18th over saw him depart, leg before to Mitchell Starc. The lower order just collapsed after that with three batsmen getting out for ducks. Chris Morris managed to hit a few boundaries to see the Lions end at 137-9.

The Sydney batsmen started cautiously, playing at under 6 rpo for the first 5 overs. Though Shane Watson took 9 balls to get off the mark, he soon found his stride, taking the Sixers' scoring rate well above 7 rpo within a span of four balls. They were cruising comfortably but Aaron Phangiso kept the Lions' hopes alive as he struck a double blow in the 9th over and removed Watson in his next over to find the Sixers in a slight spot of bother at 84-3 after 11 overs. Two more wickets fell towards the end of the chase but nothing really made the Sixers even remotely anxious. Steven Smith and Nic Maddinson took them to victory with 6 balls to spare.

Mitchell Starc was declared the Man of the Match for his tight, economical bowling spell of 3-19. This win takes the Sixers to the top of Group B with 12 points and through to the semis. They have lived up to the tag of being one of the favourites in the competition. The bad news for them though is that Superstar batsman Shane Watson leaves for Australia and will be dearly missed. The Lions remain at 8 points. They may have to win against Yorkshire, depending on the outcomes of other matches, to secure a spot in the semis.

Mini Scorecard

Lions 137-9 (20 Overs, 6.85 rpo)
G Bodi 61 (44), M Starc 3-19

Sydney Sixers 141-5 (19 Overs, 7.42 rpo)
S Watson 47 (38), A Phangiso 3-14

Sydney Sixers win by 5 wickets