Denly, Maddinson steal big show from Maxwell in Sixers' triumph

If only the Sydney Sixers had Joe Denly from the start of the summer.

The hard-hitting 31-year-old Englishman, signed earlier this month as a replacement player for compatriot Jason Roy, cracked an unbeaten 72 from to down the Melbourne Stars in front of just 17,145 fans at the SCG on Tuesday, ensuring the Sixers finished their season with four straight wins and their second highest ever score.

In a fascinating Big Bash clash between the two cellar dwellers, Denly and Nic Maddinson stole the show from Glenn Maxwell, orchestrating a brilliant run chase to win with 15 balls to spare and five wickets in hand, ensuring the Stars finish with their first ever wooden spoon.

It wasn't all jubilation for the Sixers though, with batsman Jordan Silk set to miss eight weeks of cricket after fracturing his collarbone while fielding a ball on the straight boundary.

A conjunctivitis-suffering Maxwell belted 84 from 47 balls just a day after being named in Australia's T20 side for next month's Tri Series, helping Melbourne post 5-189 in pursuit of their second win of the summer.

But opener Denly was a rock at the top of the order, and put on 108 match-winning runs for the second wicket with Nic Maddinson, who brazenly pummelled 62 from just 26 balls.

That included crunching a hapless James Faulkner for six fours in one over before he was trapped lbw by Stars captain John Hastings.

Denly finished with 146 runs in his four matches for the Sixers, and proved the man with the Midas touch. Before he arrived they had lost six straight matches, but their record now reads a much more respectable 4-6.

"He's a pretty good guy he's only been around two weeks - the way he plays is really nice, I hadn't seen a lot of him before he came out," Maddinson said.

"Even the way he trains he's a clean striker of the ball and just hits really nice cricket shots."

Maddinson also finished the season with a bang and has now scored 140 runs in his last three games, the 26-year-old back at the top of his game and batting with all of the confidence that deserted him following his axing from the Australian team after playing just three Tests last summer.

"For myself I think I've just playing with no fear," Maddinson said.

"Early on in the tournament the scoreboard dictated the way I had to play a bit and I had to be a bit more conservative. The last couple of games I've just tried to play without any fear of getting out, just look at the scoreboard and what I need to do in that situation and look to take the game on rather than conserve.

"Sometimes when you come off you have nights like tonight and last week.

"We're playing really well and one other game or one other ball in a game and it could've been a completely different season for us."

This result was particularly harsh on Maxwell, who produced one of the finest BBL knocks of the season, all things considered.

For large periods he batted without a helmet or a hat to aid him in wiping away the sweat constantly trickling down into his irritated eyes. He also needed occasional eye drops throughout his entertaining stay at the crease.

Maxwell believes he contracted conjunctivitis on Saturday morning at the team hotel from Rob Quiney's daughter.

"It just made it hard to see the last few days," Maxwell said.

"At times I had to pull away a couple of times. Just trying to refocus after blinking is difficult."

At one stage Maxwell seemed to pinch a nerve in his back when a switch-hit slog sweep against Nathan Lyon failed to connect, and he required physio treatment for several minutes.

When he fell, the Stars' innings slowed down and they failed to reach the 200 mark which looked on the cards while Maxwell was at the crease.

After the Sixers raced to their highest ever powerplay score, 1-71 after six overs, it became apparent that 189 was not going to be enough.

This story Denly, Maddinson steal big show from Maxwell in Sixers' triumph first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.