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Ponting helps Hobart beat Sydney in BBL
By Joe Barton
22:51 AEST Wed Dec 26 2012

No stranger to being the centre of attention on Boxing Day, Ricky Ponting has farewelled the SCG in trademark style with a match-winning Big Bash knock to steer Hobart to a tense seven-wicket win over the Sydney Sixers on Wednesday.

Ponting, who is more accustomed to spending December 26 under a baggy green at the MCG, racked up a composed, unbeaten 63 off 52 balls to guide the Hurricanes to 3-158 in reply to the Sixers' 8-154.

In an at-times nervy final few overs, Ponting calmly pushed him team over the line - even when they needed nine off the last over - with Owais Shah (13 not out) hitting the winning runs off Moises Henriques with one ball to spare.

And while it might not compare to his majestic 117 against South Africa on Boxing Day in 2005, Ponting's classy innings extended the Sixers' losing streak to four games and is likely to kill off their title defence.

The Sixers have just one win with three games to play and are now two wins shy of the fourth-placed Hurricanes.

Ponting, who brought up his 50 with a six off 42 balls, was ably supported by Aiden Blizzard (48 off 30), fast bowler Ben Laughlin (who took 4-31) and some haphazard play from the Big Bash and Champions League Twenty20 champions.

Laughlin's haul lifted him to ten scalps for the tournament, overtaking Melbourne firebrand Lasith Malinga as the Big Bash's leading wicket-taker.

The Sixers were hampered by careless batting, poor fielding and precious few bowlers who regularly threatened the Hurricanes batsmen.

It seemed cruel that their best, Brett Lee (1-21), will be better remembered from this game for dropping a chance offered by Blizzard which was hit so high it would've cannoned into the roof had the match been played at Etihad Stadium rather than the SCG.

Luke Feldman also toiled hard, picking up 2-21 and was desperately unlucky not to finish with better figures - having had two catches grassed off his bowling.

Earlier, the Sixers squandered a prime opportunity to capitalise on a rare hot start provided by openers Brad Haddin (22) and Michael Lumb (34).

The pair put on 57 mid-way through the sixth over before the wheels fell off, with both dismissed in quick succession as Laughlin ripped through the middle and lower order and the final five wickets fell for a paltry 25 runs.

Ponting acknowledged it was a different experience to what he was used to on Boxing Day but said that despite his strong contributions for the Hurricanes he still had no regrets about retiring from Test cricket.

"It's a lot different today, I said when I started this game tonight that I'm normally at home on the couch ordering room service (and) getting ready for day two of the Test match," Ponting said afterwards.

"A little bit different but I've known for a while that this is what my last half of the summer is going to look like.

"... I'm more than comfortable with the decision I made.

"This format's a little bit different than facing the best fast bowlers in the world in a Test match.

"But scoring runs is always nice and it's nice to be contributing to some wins, albeit for the Hurricanes and not for Australia but I've had my time in the sun there.

"160-odd Tests is enough for me I think. I can sit back and enjoy watching some of the younger boys play now."


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