With an entirely dominant display against an overwhelmed Melbourne Stars, who nearly averted the lowest total in the competition’s history but nonetheless tumbled to the greatest ever defeat, the Sydney Sixers set an early benchmark in their quest for a hat-trick of BBL titles. After being sent in, the Sixers’ top three grabbed control, with Josh Philippe and Moises Henriques both scoring half-centuries in a second-wicket stand of 102 in 8.3 overs. They helped the Sixers reach their greatest BBL total in an innings that never slowed down. After the four-over powerplay, they were 0 for 40, 1 for 92 after 10 overs, 33 off the two Power Surge overs, and 121 of the last ten.

In the face of a massive chase and without Marcus Stoinis, the Stars lost two wickets in the first over to Steve O’Keefe, who went on to earn career-best statistics. Shortly after the Sixers scored a new high score, the Stars sank to an all-time low. There aren’t many games that are as one-sided as this one.

Philippe’s first exposure to the international setup had been a harrowing winter. He was set twice against New Zealand, but his best score in the more unfamiliar circumstances of West Indies and Bangladesh was 13 in five innings, and he was left out of the World Cup squad. However, he has been in good form for Western Australia in the early part of the season, and he put up a fantastic performance in Sixers colours. During the early stages, he trailed James Vince, but he quickly caught up to pull up a 33-ball fifty. Then, in the first of the Power Surge overs against Sam Rainbird, he unleashed a barrage of sixes, the first of which landed on the pavilion’s roof. Sixers’ maiden BBL century was on the cards when he surged into the 80s in the 16th over, but he lost the strike to Henriques and was caught at deep midwicket. Even so, he’d put down a marker.

Henriques is regarded as one of Australia’s most capable captains. He was limited to five games last season due to his inclusion in Australia’s bio-bubble Test team, but he is unlikely to play this season, thus he should be able to play the entire Sixers season. After the first stand of 90 between Philippe and Vince, he had a good foundation to build on. After looking in fantastic shape during a warm-up game against Sydney Thunder last week, he made the most of it. His first boundary came off his fourth ball, and a tremendous straight drive off Sam Elliott helped him achieve a 29-ball fifty. He came up one short of his career-high.