To investigate lower-limb muscle function during sidestep cutting, prior studies have analysed electromyography (EMG) data together with three dimensional motion analysis. Such an approach does not directly quantify the biomechanical role of individual lower-limb muscles during a sidestep cut. This study recorded three dimensional motion analysis, ground reaction force (GRF) and EMG data for eight healthy males executing an unanticipated sidestep cut. Using a musculoskeletal modelling approach, muscle function was determined by computing the muscle contributions to the GRFs and lower-limb joint moments. We found that bodyweight support (vertical GRF) was primarily provided by the vasti, gluteus maximus, soleus and gastrocnemius. These same muscles, along with the hamstrings, were also primarily responsible for modulating braking and propulsion (anteroposterior GRF). The vasti, gluteus maximus and gluteus medius were the key muscles for accelerating the centre-of-mass towards the desired cutting direction by generating a medially-directed GRF. Our findings have implications for designing retraining programs to improve sidestep cutting technique.