Their BBL title dream has come to an end but Sydney Sixers believe they've unearthed a gem in young opener Josh Philippe.
Philippe scored a classy 52 off 31 balls as the Sixers succumbed to a three-wicket defeat to Melbourne Renegades in Friday night's semi-final.
The former Perth Scorcher combined with Daniel Hughes (52) to hand the visitors a strong start on a much-improved Marvel Stadium pitch.
Philippe set the tone early by going after Kane Richardson, the BBL's leading wicket-taker, with the Sixers taking 30 off Richardson's first two overs.
The 21-year-old finished his debut season for the Sixers with 304 runs at 30.40, having been promoted to opener after initially batting in the middle order.
Sixers captain Moises Henriques said he had been excited about Philippe's potential from the moment he walked through the door.
"We started him batting at six and, although he didn't score a mountain of runs at six, he was coming in and making really significant impacts on the game," Henriques said.
"He was always putting the bowlers under pressure.
"He'd always batted at the top, so for him to adapt into that middle order like he did, I thought 'this kid's a pretty special talent' ... because I think personally, five, six and seven are the hardest positions to bat in T20 cricket."
The Sixers were reluctant to move Philippe from the middle order after his strong start but reaped the benefits of having him face the new ball.
Henriques said the Sixers would make it a priority to secure a long-term deal for Philippe after signing him on a one-year contract.
"That's in the works and that's obviously up to Josh, but after the season he's had we'd be stupid not to be entertaining that," Henriques said.
"Once he moved to the top, obviously two outstanding innings and you can just tell the opposition bowlers don't enjoy bowling to him.
"I think he's going to be a pretty special player."
Australian Associated Press