SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Steve Smith of the Sixers celebrates scoring his century during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder at Sydney Cricket Ground, on January 21, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

The Sydney Sixers have reportedly settled on Daniel Hughes to replace Steve Smith at the top of the order in their BBL grand final qualifier against the Brisbane Heat on Thursday.

The Sixers find themselves back at home for the game against the Heat following last Saturday's loss to the Perth Scorchers in Perth, who advanced directly to the grand final.

Sydney have used Smith in an opening role for the last five games, with the star Australian now on the plane to India for the Border-Gavaskar trophy, which gets underway on February 9 in Nagpur.

He has scored two centuries in that time and was a force to be reckoned with, but will now need to be replaced, and despite not opening all season, AAP are reporting that Sixers' sources have confirmed Hughes will be the man to come into the side.

Josh Philippe, who has been a stalwart at the top of the order for the men in magenta, will continue to open, but will have a new partner, having opened with Englishman James Vince who has since departed for the ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates, and Kurtis Patterson prior to Smith's arrival.

Hughes has played three games this season, but all that number three in the batting list.

"We've played ten games without Steve and had a few wins along the way so we're familiar with this group," veteran batsman Jordan Silk told reporters on Tuesday.

"(Hughes) has trained well, he's been great around the group all year. He's probably one of the more unlucky players in the competition to not be playing.

"He's been a reliable performer for us at the Sixers for a number of years."

Hayden Kerr was seen as the other option alongside Hughes and Patterson, but has seemingly been overlooked despite becoming the hero of the Sixers' BBL campaign last summer.

The Heat, on the other hand, have had to do things the hard way from fifth spot, with road wins against the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Renegades to qualify for the challenger.

Like the men in magenta, Wade Secombe's side have to make changes, with all of Usman Khawaja, Matt Renshaw, Marnus Labuschagne and Mitch Swepson on the plane to India. It's understood that Max Bryant, Sam Heazlett and Nathan McSweeney will be the three players to come into the side.

The clash will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday evening from 7:15pm (AEDT), with the winner of the Sixers and Heat to then travel to Perth for Saturday evening's grand final against the Scorchers.

Teams will be confirmed at the toss 30 minutes before the first ball.