Rauf hat-trick, Maxwell magic take Stars to the top

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Melbourne Stars 4 for 148 (Maxwell 59*, Stoinis 50) beat Sydney Thunder 5 for 145 (Gilkes 41, Haris 3-23) by six wickets

Haris Rauf plucked a hat-trick and Glenn Maxwell smashed it with the bat for Melbourne Stars to regain their place at the top of the Big Bash League table. Sydney Thunder were beaten by six wickets at the MCG, on a day they learned of Chris Green’s tournament ban for an illegal bowling action. 

The Thunder were never able to build enough momentum for a big total when batting first, despite preserving plenty of wickets in hand, and then had their last over plans overturned by Haris’ sheer precision. Marcus Stoinis, having escaped a ban for abusive language during the Stars’ previous match, then settled into his innings to start the Stars’ chase, before Maxwell clouted 59 from 35 balls, including 37 runs from his last 16 balls. 

Thunder keep wickets in hand…

Thunder played a controlled innings in which they kept wickets in hand but could never quite find the momentum to break free. Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales had their moments in an opening stand worth 56, but lingering beyond the eighth over did not help do the sort of damage two such sweet timers of the ball would have hoped for. Maxwell’s ability to bowl three unchanged overs for 19 runs at the start would have delighted the Stars’ planners.

Callum Ferguson, the captain, and Matt Gilkes, the wicketkeeper, then put together a sensible partnership that threatened, at various stages, to provide the acceleration required. But once again the Stars were able to restrict the flow of boundaries enough to ensure that by the time the final over of the innings began, the Thunder were still looking for a big over to take them from mediocrity into better territory in the region of 160 and beyond.

More to follow

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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