All-round Abbott secures Sixers' semi-final spot

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Sean Abbott's late show fired Sydney Sixers into the Big Bash League semi-finals with a dramatic three-wicket victory over Melbourne Stars at the MCG.

Abbott made an unbeaten 33 off 17 deliveries to kick Melbourne Renegades out of the top four and set up a semi-final at Brisbane Heat, with the Stars slipping to fourth and facing a trip to Perth Scorchers in the knockout stage.

The Sixers looked to be in trouble at 97-6, requiring 60 from the remaining 35 deliveries for a successful chase after the Stars made 156-8.

Abbott ensured they kicked on, though, quickly finding his rhythm in striking three boundaries and two maximums with excellent support provided by Johan Botha (25 off 13).

Ben Dwarshuis got Sydney over the line with one over to spare by clipping a four past slip from his first delivery, meaning Luke Wright's brilliant 62 off 47 - his highest score this season - proved in vain.

The Stars were thwarted by a late collapse, four wickets falling in the final two overs with Dwarshuis (3-25) and Abbott (1-31) proving integral.

ALL-ROUND ABBOTT AMAZES

Abbott's first two overs went for 25 runs, with Rob Quiney (35 off 19) and Wright plundering a maximum a piece.

However, he made a pair of catches to remove David Hussey (4) and Kevin Pietersen (39) in the penultimate over, the latter while diving forward running in from the deep.

Abbott was given the ball for the final set of six and, after Sam Harper (5) was run out, he accounted for Ben Hilfenhaus (4) before continuing his sensational showing with the bat.

IT ALL GOES WRONG FOR WRIGHT

Wright made his second half-century in succession but it fell apart for him at the hands of Nathan Lyon (2-18) in the 16th over.

After escaping a potential stumping two balls earlier, Wright sent an inside edge onto his pad that ricocheted upwards and clipped the top of leg stump to send him walking back to the pavilion.

HADDIN'S HANDS SAFE AS HOUSES

Some brilliant bowling helped the Sixers limit the Stars in the closing stages, and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin played his part with a sensational catch to remove Seb Gotch (1).

The 39-year-old showed agility belying his years as he dived full length to his right to pull off a superb one-handed grab.