The Sydney Sixers are showing signs of fatigue as they move into the second half of BBL10.
Although still on top of the table despite Wednesday night’s 86-run loss to the Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium, they looked far from champions as they collapsed to be all out for 97 chasing 184 for victory.
It was their lowest-ever total against the Scorchers and their third lowest in all BBL games.
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Opener Jack Edwards put up the only resistance, hitting 44 runs from 38 balls.
The loss was also the Sydneysiders second in three outings, beaten by the Brisbane Heat by four wickets last week.
Adding to the Sixers woes was the groin injury sustained by leading wicket-taker Ben Dwarshuis while they were in the field.
The Sixers were forced to call on X-factor Lloyd Pope at the half-way mark of the Scorchers innings due to the Dwarshuis injury.
The change appeared to be a blessing in disguise after Pope removed the dangerous Colin Munro in his first over, but not before the New Zealander hit his second consecutive half-century.
The leg spinner had figures of 2-13 after his second over, also removing Jason Roy.
But with Dwarshuis sitting in the stands injured, the Sixers were searching for options during Perth’s two-over power-surge and at the final stages of the Scorchers innings.
On the back of some tight bowling from Steve O’Keefe, the Scorchers scratched their way to just 1-26 in the first four-over power-play.
They lost Liam Livingstone for 16 in that period. While Roy lasted until the 14th over, he added just 27 from 31 balls.
His wicket brought Mitch Marsh to the crease and he had no issues finding the middle of his bat.
His unbeaten 57 from 27 balls included seven boundaries and two sixes.
The Scorchers added 84 in the six overs that he was at the crease, including 0-30 in their power surge.
The Sixers could have cemented their place on top of the table with a win over the Scorchers after the Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes, placed second and third respectively, lost earlier in the week.
The Scorchers move into sixth place after a third consecutive victory. The competition tightened significantly in the past couple of days with the Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars also notching wins.
Only the Melbourne Renegades currently look incapable of challenging.
The Sixers remain on top of the table because they can usually snatch a Bash Boost bonus points, even in games they lose.
Wednesday was first time they failed to leave a game this season without a point.
The chase of just 72 from their first 10 overs started poorly when Josh Philippe went for just five in the second over. James Vince followed in the next over without scoring.
Neither Jordan Silk, nor Dan Christian managed to score and the Sixers slumped to 6-58 at the half-way mark of their innings.
Perth claimed a bonus point for just the second time.
And with Andrew Tye finding form with figures of 4-20 from three overs and Jhye Richardson starring with 3-15 also, they are starting to look dangerous.