Sydney Sixers star Steve Smith has lamented his side's miserable Big Bash League title defence, conceding their season is all but over following their fourth-straight loss on Wednesday night.
The Sixers suffered a seven-wicket defeat to a Ricky Ponting-inspired Hobart Hurricanes at the SCG, leaving them languishing in second-last spot on the ladder with just one victory.
They're two wins behind the fourth-placed Hurricanes, with the top four teams going through to the finals. With just three games to play, they would need to win all of those and have results fall their way to sneak into the semis.
It's a remarkable fall from grace for the Sixers who, just two months ago, were crowned the best T20 franchise in the world by winning the Champions League.
But Smith said the loss of star pace trio Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and the Champions League's leading wicket-taker Mitchell Starc to Test commitments and injury put them instantly on the back foot this season.
"I reckon it's a completely different team to what we had over there. And those conditions were very different as well," Smith said.
"The three fast bowlers we had over there were probably too much for the other teams.
"We've lost all them and the team we've got right now is probably not quite as balanced."
To soften the blow of losing three star quicks, the Sixers recruited West Indian offspinner Sunil Narine but the 24-year-old has been a disaster, taking no wickets and conceding 152 runs at an economy rate of 7.6 an over.
Smith said it was important to finish the season strongly, even if their title defence was dead in the water.
"It's probably too late for us now but we've still got a lot of pride and we've still got to play some good cricket the next three games," he said.
The Sixers were also without opening batsman Michael Lumb for the first half of the tournament as he finished up commitments with the England team in India.
Lumb made his season debut against the Hurricanes and had an instant impact, top-scoring with 34 - another point not lost on young allrounder Smith.
"He's a very good Twenty20 player and he's been very good for us last year and in the Champions League as well," Smith said.
"It's a shame he wasn't here at the start of the tournament for us. That would've been pretty handy, but he had commitments."