Nic Maddinson fell just short of orchestrating a Sydney Sixers victory at North Dalton Park on Tuesday, but the Nowra product rediscovered some much-needed form on the eve of the Big Bash season.
The 25-year-old notched up a determined half century as the Sixers fell 14-runs shy of victory in their trial match against Hobart Hurricanes.
Some strong late hitting saw Hobart post 6-164, which Sydney struggled to chase down despite the best efforts of Maddinson.
Maddinson finished on a team-high 53, with the Sixers finishing on 6-150 after 20 overs in front of more than 4000 people.
It was a welcome return to form for Maddinson, who admitted to being ‘a bit rusty’.
He was glad to be back playing the shortest format of the game and was keen to make his mark on the Big Bash when the Sixers begin their season against rivals Sydney Thunder next Tuesday night.
“I think you have to start fresh regardless of what kind of form you come in leading into the Big Bash,” Maddinson said.
“I haven’t played that well in Shield cricket. I have been a bit frustrated so it is about playing a bit freer.
“I really enjoy this time of year and for the Sixers. It’s a great form to play.
“It is about finding your rhythm and once you get into the stages of the game, it is just about playing the game regardless of how well you are hitting them.”
Maddinson came to the crease in the first over of the Sixers innings after Jason Roy clipped the ball off his pads straight to short fine leg off the bowling of Tom Rogers (2 for 20).
He eased his way into the innings and enjoyed a 59-run partnership with Daniel Hughes (30 runs) until the latter was bowled by Cameron Boyce.
When Maddinson brought up his fifty in fortuitous circumstances, the Sixers needed a further 45 runs from 22 balls.
Maddinson eventually fell searching for runs as the Hurricanes bowlers kept things tight to seal a 14-run win.
“I thought they bowled really well,” Maddinson said.
“It didn’t feel like throughout the middle of the game that there were too many boundary options around.
“It was about spending some time in the middle and trying to see what we did when we come up against them in a few weeks, we are well planned.”
Maddinson had ice on his right hand post game after copping a ball to the hand from an errant Matthew Wade throw.
“It hit me in the one part of the glove where there is no pad. It should be fine,” Maddinson said.
Earlier in the day, the Sixers had struggled to contain the Hurricanes’ top order.
D’Arcy Short (54 off 41) and Alex Doolan (27 off 22) got the Tasmanian’s off to the perfect start with a 51-run opening stand. They kept the scoreboard ticking along before Dan Christian and international Jofra Archer provided a late spark to set a defendable total.
Archer finished on 22 not out from 10 balls while Christian (20 not out off 17) showed his strength late on.