The 94-run spanking dumped the Sixers to third on the BBL ladder behind the Melbourne Renegades, who they will now face on Friday night at Marvel Stadium – 875km away from the hallowed turf of the SCG.
To make matters worse, they will need to push on to the pointy end of the Twenty20 tournament without arguably their best player, Tom Curran, who flew out for the Caribbean on Sunday night to link with England’s one-day team.
The Stars will travel to Hobart for the first semi-final on Thursday night.
While the Sixers will be filthy with their effort, the Sydney Thunder players were still dirty about being robbed of their own finals berth because of the dodgy Gabba blackout last month.
The Thunder defeated the Hobart Hurricanes on Saturday night at a packed Manuka Oval, but they fell just short on the ladder, and largely because of the one point they had to share with Brisbane when the lights went down mid-tournament.
While they had plenty of other chances throughout the summer, there was no denying the Gabba debacle halted the Thunder’s momentum.
The Sixers were shooting for five straight wins with the knowledge they were already guaranteed a final berth regardless of what unfolded against the Stars.
Nobody, however, expected the Sunday afternoon capitulation. Bleak City never looked so bleak.
Glenn Maxwell was absolutely brilliant, smashing a sensational 65 runs off the final four overs to accelerate the Stars’ innings to 6-168.
Maxwell was dawdling by his own lofty standards when he reached 17 runs off 20 balls, but then hit the nitro button and finished with a brilliant 82 off 43 balls.
He started the final over with a monster six over long-on, then smashed Ben Dwarshuis again straight down the ground.
The bearded bomber brought up the 50-run partnership with Seb Gotch off just 18 balls with the latter proudly adding the one run from the one ball he faced.
One of the best white-ball players on the planet, Maxwell brought the crowd to life and they gave him a standing ovation as he was caught on the final delivery to end a truly memorable knock.
Marcus Stoinis continued his top-notch run of form when he hit Lloyd Pope for four boundaries in the first over.
But despite the blazing start under the blazing Melbourne sun, the Stars found it tough to get the Sixers’ bowlers away.
Sean Abbott removed Ben Dunk in the third over and finished with a maiden.
From there the Sixers were ruthless, refusing to give the Stars and Stoinis anything decent to dispatch.
Stoinis (34 off 23) fell to Curran when he got a top edge and keeper Josh Philippe made no mistakes with the catch.
Nathan Lyon was his trusty efficient self in his first game wearing the magenta, and gave up just 15 runs in his first three overs before Maxwell hit as many runs off his final over for 0-31.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.