Melbourne Stars 7 for 200 (Pietersen 73, Quiney 51, Pattinson 3 for 44) beat Melbourne Renegades 9 for 154 (White 38, Zampa 3-19, Beer 3-32) by 46 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kevin Pietersen switched the Melbourne derby Stars’ way with his fourth T20 fifty in his last six innings © Getty Images
Pietersen elegantly swept his first ball for six and did not look back, driving strongly over cover and pulling handsomely through the legside.
The 200 he set up never looked likely to be chased by the Renegades, and they crumbled in a heap, but limped through their 20 overs. The emphatic result lifted Stars to four points, level with the Renegades; both teams are in the frame for finals with four games each remaining.
The Quiney question
A few weeks ago, Rob Quiney did not seem likely to play much of a role for Stars. He made 23 runs in three innings last year, barely got a game in the Matador Cup, and hasn’t played for Victoria in the Shield this season. He had grade cricket as preparation.
But he made an excellent 75 in their opening win against Hobart Hurricanes, before missing two games – both defeats – with a hamstring injury. In his absence, Stars’ batting looked horribly top-heavy. His return – a brilliant display of ball-striking, particularly through the legside – set Stars off to a flyer, providing Pietersen with a platform and returning Glenn Maxwell to his more natural position at No. 4. After Quiney skied a Trent Lawford legcutter to square leg, Pietersen and Maxwell shared a sprightly 65.
Despite ending strongly, there was still confusion about Stars’ line-up. Maxwell was replaced by Sam Harper – perhaps because of his ability against spin – rather than David Hussey or James “the finisher” Faulkner, despite there being six overs left in the innings. When Pietersen – slapping to cover – and Harper fell in consecutive balls, out came that pair, with Hussey playing a brilliant cameo (with 27 from 11 balls) before both were run-out in the final over, which was bowled by Lawford and cost just seven.
James Pattinson consistently hit speeds north of 140kph and claimed three wickets on return © Getty Images
James Pattinson – still one of the world’s most alluring quicks, whatever the format – made another injury comeback, and it was never dull. His first over, the second of the innings, snared Luke Wright, caught at mid-on, and cost just two runs plus a leg bye. His second was more eventful; at 146ph Quiney was hit excruciatingly amidships but dusted himself off to nail a four down the ground and a six over square leg.
Pattinson returned for the 14th and was clattered through cover and down the ground by Pietersen, the former bringing up his 50, before the key partnership was broken with Maxwell caught well in the deep. His last, the 18th, saw Harper dismissed first ball, but Hussey raid 19, including fours down the ground, cut through point and inside out over cover, and six over cow corner.
The what? In a world first for cricket, the Docklands Stadium had a pair of 93 square-metre screens hanging from it’s roof. They weighed 13 tons apiece and, were pretty excellent. The ball never went close (they hung 22m above the pitch) and provided a behind-the-arm perspective for those side-on, as well as extra screen-space for the BBL’s classic array of gimmicks. Renegades’ highest-ever home crowd – 44,189 – packed in to view it.
Adam Zampa strangled Melbourne Renegades’ chase of 201 © Cricket Australia/Getty Images
Having 200 on the board is a luxury. So when Sunil Narine – again employed as a pinch-hitter – and Aaron Finch got Renegades’ chase off to a fine start, there was no cause for alarm. In the fourth over, Scott Boland dismissed both of them – Narine caught at cover, and Finch going slogging, capping a bad day for the captain, who was dropped by Australia – and Stars applied the squeeze.
Just 26 came in the following five overs, bowled by Faulkner, Boland and Zampa – who was excellent, finishing with career best figures of 3 for 19. Trent Lawford was promoted to accelerate, but only Cameron White looked likely to take the game deep. When Zampa dismissed him, caught at deep-midwicket, in his final over (the 14th), the game was up. In the following over Michael Beer (who also ended with three) dismissed Callum Ferguson and Peter Nevill, while the tail wagged to delay the inevitable.
The question now for the Stars is how best to replace Zampa, Faulkner and Maxwell – and sustain a charge for finals – as they join up with Australia’s ODI squad. One bonus is the return of Peter Handscomb, but their depth will be tested.
Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo