Duck: Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell. Credit:Getty Images
The Melbourne Stars’ destiny is out of their hands after an 11-run loss to the red-hot Perth Scorchers at the MCG on Saturday night.
The Stars will now need to rely on results going their way in the five remaining Big Bash League matches which precede their final game of the season on Tuesday night against the Sydney Sixers.
Sydney Thunder, Brisbane Heat, Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes can all build unassailable buffers between themselves and the Stars, who risk missing the finals for just the second time in the BBL’s 10-season history even if they can beat the Sixers at the ’G in what is the final regular-season match of the campaign.
Set 183 to win by the Scorchers, the Stars’ chase ran into trouble when Marcus Stoinis (14 from 11 balls) holed out to Andrew Tye at long-on as part of a wicket maiden from Jason Behrendorff.
Promoted to open in the absence of Andre Fletcher, Seb Gotch (18 from 20) slipped while looking for a second run and was caught just short as he scampered for safety. Stars captain Glenn Maxwell needed to produce something special but smacked a half-tracker from Fawad Ahmed to mid-wicket where he was caught for a duck by Scorchers skipper Ashton Turner, continuing Maxwell’s lean back half of the season.
The Stars fell comfortably short of the Bash Boost target and despite some fireworks from Nick Larkin (70 from 44) always faced an uphill battle to win the game. Larkin was eventually bowled by Tye, effectively killing off the Stars’ chances. The Stars ultimately finished on 6-171 as Perth moved to the top of the ladder.
Eye on the ball: Liam Livingstone of the Scorchers.Credit:Getty Images
The Scorchers were sent in by the Stars and quickly got the game on their terms. Jason Roy had warm memories of the ’G following his 180 in a one-dayer against Australia three years ago and just as he did on that January night he took to Adam Zampa. Zampa’s first three balls went for 14 as Roy took charge, with the Australian leggie finishing with 1-48 from his four overs.
Roy was on track to again reach triple figures but was excellently caught by Maxwell, who ran back with the flight of the ball to take a catch at long-off from the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nile. But Coulter-Nile (1-49 from four) ended up copping it too as Colin Munro (46 not out from 30) and Turner (18 not out from nine) catapulted the Scorchers to 4-182 from their 20 overs.
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