Stars v Thunder, BBL 2012-13, Melbourne January 8, 2013

Stars overcome Gayle blitz to reach semis

  shares 17

Melbourne Stars 8 for 145 (Hodge 39, Hussey 32) beat Sydney Thunder 132 (Gayle 65, Faulkner 3-24) by 13 runs
Scorecard

It took eight rounds across 31 days for Chris Gayle to deliver and yet, incredibly, Sydney Thunder lost again to gift the Melbourne Stars a semi-final berth. The Stars' tournament chances had seemingly slipped after setting what appeared an underwhelming target of 146 for Thunder to chase.

When Gayle lit up the MCG with the fastest fifty of the BBL, off just 25 balls, Thunder's 12-match losing streak looked to be dead and buried along with the Stars' season. The Sydney franchise had not won since Gayle was last the Man of the Match, for a 54-ball century in December 2011 against Adelaide Strikers at the ANZ Stadium.

Gayle hurtled towards three figures here as he displayed his brutal power. He thumped Jackson Bird over the sightscreen in the second over, showing utter disdain for Bird's Test match form. Gayle then clubbed 19 runs from John Hastings' first over, including a flat-bat down the ground, a ramp over third man, a conventional cut to point, and a contemptuous slap that cleared the longest boundary on the ground at midwicket.

He had some luck, with Cameron White failing to lay a hand on a towering sky ball, and it seemed then that the prize scalp of Gayle and a semi-final berth might have escaped the Stars' grasp. Gayle scored 50 of the 59 runs that came in the Powerplay, with Simon Keen the only wicket to fall.

Matt Prior played a slow hand by comparison to Gayle. His 16-ball 7 ended when he holed out to a superb running catch at long-on by Bird. But it brought the in-form Usman Khawaja to the crease and the chase seemed a fait accompli. Thunder needed 55 from 48 balls with Gayle and Khawaja in complete command before Gayle tried to clear the rope for a fifth time, only to be caught by Glenn Maxwell for 65.

Khawaja inexplicably sliced Bird to Brad Hodge at deep point the following over and what seemed impossible at the start of the 13th over suddenly appeared inevitable.

Thunder conspired to lose their last eight wickets for just 41 runs to be bowled out 13 short of their target and consign themselves to a winless season and a 13th straight loss as a franchise. All the Stars bowlers were gifted at least a wicket each. James Faulkner bagged three and Dimitri Mascarenhas picked up two in his first game for the Stars as a replacement for Lasith Malinga.

Earlier, Stars looked to have blown a golden chance to make the semi-finals when they compiled only 8 for 145 having elected to bat.

Luke Wright ran himself out early. Rob Quiney appeared to have found some much needed touch only for his promising innings of 22 to end when he hit Sean Abbott straight up in the air and was caught by Khawaja.

Brad Hodge and David Hussey were left to mount a rescue mission, as they have done so often on this ground together. Hodge again showed his class making 39 from just 26 balls before he played around a full delivery from Dirk Nannes. Hussey did as a Hussey so often does, compiling a busy 32 that featured only one boundary.

But the innings fell away badly from there. The Stars managed just 18 runs from the last 25 balls, and lost four wickets in the process. Fortunately for the Stars, Thunder's finish was even more calamitous and Shane Warne will get another chance to captain his side having been forced to watch tonight from the confines of the change rooms due to his suspension.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mary_786 on January 9, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I don't know if you guys watched the game but there was a ball where Quiney was keeping up to the stumps and the batsman missed it and it went straight into Quiney's helmet grill, funniest thing i have seen for a while though Quiney did well given he is not a full time keeper. Also interesting to note how well Khawaja was running between the wickets and the catch he took when Cossie nearly clashed with him showing that his catching is looking very good now. Good to see Khawjaa get some runs in this format too. But for me the player of the series has been Finch, how good is he batting right now in the shorter format.

  • Sunil_Batra on January 9, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Khawaja was the only star for Thunder, but boy will the Stars miss their key players in the semis, Hussey, Mckay, Hastings, Malinga will all be missing for their semi final.

  • Paul_Rampley on January 9, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Yes Macca i saw it, it was very funny, interesting night altogether and I have also noticed Khawaja's aggression in batting, good on hiim, another thing he can tick off for his improvement list. @Aneek lets hope Khawaja gets to be Hussey's replacement, will be well deserved. How good is Brad Hodge, even at 38 his batting and fielding is as sharp as it was in his 20s.

  • on January 9, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Khawaja should replace Hussey. His time has come. Great talent, finally matured.

  • jonesy2 on January 9, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    i dont understand the recruiting done by the BBL teams. why on earth would the thunder get matt prior? he was an embarrassment, unable to play the game, looked like he had picked up a cricket bat for the first time in his life and he didnt even keep. ridiculous when there are so many awesome players out there. renegades are taking the mickey replacing samuels with alex hales, who is that? import players should be paid on a performance basis , most of them havent cut it at the BBL level for one reason or another. the whole purpose of getting imports is to get the best players in the world big names, not players who are club level standard in australia like lumb, hales and prior. and if you cant get to big foreign names then save your money and play locals who are probably going to be better anyway

  • Edwards_Anderson on January 9, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    @Srriaj317 agree with you, the Thunder should just focus on their local players such as Khawaja who has been their best batsman this year. Having the local guys like this will not only help them win but get the crowds in as the target audience will identify with these guys much more. Having Rogers as captain did not pay off not only because he is inexperienced in this format but because the crowd did not identify with him as leader. Have either Gayle or Khawaja as captain next year

  • hycIass on January 9, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Khawaja is the only player in Thunder who has scored this year, 250 runs this big bash and is showing an aggressive side to his game which i didn't think he had. Gayle finally came through last night but he has been dissapointing for the Thunder. I am predicting that either Hobart or Scorchers will win as both Melbourne teams will lose their key players to the Aus ODI duties.

  • On_The_Boundary on January 9, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    And yet again, the fast food version of the game proves the joke's still on the fans for supporting this silliness.

  • on January 9, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    @maf17 I agree, Sydney & Melbourne fans dont quite know which team to support. In Sydney its easy to just like the 6'ers cause they win. In Melbourne people just jump ship to the latest winner. If they want it city based then at least say the thunder are west sydney & 6ers are sydney city (Their home grounds are based there anyway!)

  • sahajb on January 9, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @truesupporter , malinga has gone back in ODI team for srilanka so his BBL is over now.

  • Mary_786 on January 9, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I don't know if you guys watched the game but there was a ball where Quiney was keeping up to the stumps and the batsman missed it and it went straight into Quiney's helmet grill, funniest thing i have seen for a while though Quiney did well given he is not a full time keeper. Also interesting to note how well Khawaja was running between the wickets and the catch he took when Cossie nearly clashed with him showing that his catching is looking very good now. Good to see Khawjaa get some runs in this format too. But for me the player of the series has been Finch, how good is he batting right now in the shorter format.

  • Sunil_Batra on January 9, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Khawaja was the only star for Thunder, but boy will the Stars miss their key players in the semis, Hussey, Mckay, Hastings, Malinga will all be missing for their semi final.

  • Paul_Rampley on January 9, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Yes Macca i saw it, it was very funny, interesting night altogether and I have also noticed Khawaja's aggression in batting, good on hiim, another thing he can tick off for his improvement list. @Aneek lets hope Khawaja gets to be Hussey's replacement, will be well deserved. How good is Brad Hodge, even at 38 his batting and fielding is as sharp as it was in his 20s.

  • on January 9, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Khawaja should replace Hussey. His time has come. Great talent, finally matured.

  • jonesy2 on January 9, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    i dont understand the recruiting done by the BBL teams. why on earth would the thunder get matt prior? he was an embarrassment, unable to play the game, looked like he had picked up a cricket bat for the first time in his life and he didnt even keep. ridiculous when there are so many awesome players out there. renegades are taking the mickey replacing samuels with alex hales, who is that? import players should be paid on a performance basis , most of them havent cut it at the BBL level for one reason or another. the whole purpose of getting imports is to get the best players in the world big names, not players who are club level standard in australia like lumb, hales and prior. and if you cant get to big foreign names then save your money and play locals who are probably going to be better anyway

  • Edwards_Anderson on January 9, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    @Srriaj317 agree with you, the Thunder should just focus on their local players such as Khawaja who has been their best batsman this year. Having the local guys like this will not only help them win but get the crowds in as the target audience will identify with these guys much more. Having Rogers as captain did not pay off not only because he is inexperienced in this format but because the crowd did not identify with him as leader. Have either Gayle or Khawaja as captain next year

  • hycIass on January 9, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Khawaja is the only player in Thunder who has scored this year, 250 runs this big bash and is showing an aggressive side to his game which i didn't think he had. Gayle finally came through last night but he has been dissapointing for the Thunder. I am predicting that either Hobart or Scorchers will win as both Melbourne teams will lose their key players to the Aus ODI duties.

  • On_The_Boundary on January 9, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    And yet again, the fast food version of the game proves the joke's still on the fans for supporting this silliness.

  • on January 9, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    @maf17 I agree, Sydney & Melbourne fans dont quite know which team to support. In Sydney its easy to just like the 6'ers cause they win. In Melbourne people just jump ship to the latest winner. If they want it city based then at least say the thunder are west sydney & 6ers are sydney city (Their home grounds are based there anyway!)

  • sahajb on January 9, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @truesupporter , malinga has gone back in ODI team for srilanka so his BBL is over now.

  • Kolpak1989 on January 8, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    Wow, the Thunder are a joke. Gayle and Prior are grossly overpaid for what they bring to the team. Gayle has fired only once this year and Prior is just rubbish.

  • maf17 on January 8, 2013, 21:58 GMT

    The powers that be have to do something about the Thunder and quickly. One win in 2 seasons just isnt good enough. The franchise should probably be renamed for a start to shake off the negative connotations, possibly even a transfer to Newcastle or another regional centre, but it clearly needs a cleanout from top to bottom. Saying goodbye to Chris Gayle is painful but necessary, its clear the team relied too much on him at the beginning after his magnificent debut and when it became clear that he was not going to deliver it was just too late for the team to gel as an effective force. The fact that the team is relying so heavily on Khawaja, not a natural T20 player by any means, just demonstrates how unbalanced their lineup is.

  • srriaj317 on January 8, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    Matt Prior was a negative impact early in the Thunder's chase. I wonder why a player like him would be paid thousands of dollars to play a format he isn't successful in. If we instead stick to our local players like Khawaja who are more reliable, it's much better for the team's performance and the BBL's contribution to Aus cricket. Matt Prior is not going to draw any crowds anyway!

  • Truesupporter on January 8, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Why wasn't Malinga playing for the Stars?

  • king78787 on January 8, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    but what happens if there was no gayle, they would be without a star 20 20 player

  • on January 8, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    20 20 is nt one maann show. we knw galyevis the best but 20 20 is team gamee.........

  • on January 8, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    Thunder franchise need to stop investing all their money on gayle and look at recruiting more recognised players - 10 game losing streak is simply ridiculous!

  • on January 8, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    Thunder franchise need to stop investing all their money on gayle and look at recruiting more recognised players - 10 game losing streak is simply ridiculous!

  • on January 8, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    20 20 is nt one maann show. we knw galyevis the best but 20 20 is team gamee.........

  • king78787 on January 8, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    but what happens if there was no gayle, they would be without a star 20 20 player

  • Truesupporter on January 8, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Why wasn't Malinga playing for the Stars?

  • srriaj317 on January 8, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    Matt Prior was a negative impact early in the Thunder's chase. I wonder why a player like him would be paid thousands of dollars to play a format he isn't successful in. If we instead stick to our local players like Khawaja who are more reliable, it's much better for the team's performance and the BBL's contribution to Aus cricket. Matt Prior is not going to draw any crowds anyway!

  • maf17 on January 8, 2013, 21:58 GMT

    The powers that be have to do something about the Thunder and quickly. One win in 2 seasons just isnt good enough. The franchise should probably be renamed for a start to shake off the negative connotations, possibly even a transfer to Newcastle or another regional centre, but it clearly needs a cleanout from top to bottom. Saying goodbye to Chris Gayle is painful but necessary, its clear the team relied too much on him at the beginning after his magnificent debut and when it became clear that he was not going to deliver it was just too late for the team to gel as an effective force. The fact that the team is relying so heavily on Khawaja, not a natural T20 player by any means, just demonstrates how unbalanced their lineup is.

  • Kolpak1989 on January 8, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    Wow, the Thunder are a joke. Gayle and Prior are grossly overpaid for what they bring to the team. Gayle has fired only once this year and Prior is just rubbish.

  • sahajb on January 9, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @truesupporter , malinga has gone back in ODI team for srilanka so his BBL is over now.

  • on January 9, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    @maf17 I agree, Sydney & Melbourne fans dont quite know which team to support. In Sydney its easy to just like the 6'ers cause they win. In Melbourne people just jump ship to the latest winner. If they want it city based then at least say the thunder are west sydney & 6ers are sydney city (Their home grounds are based there anyway!)

  • On_The_Boundary on January 9, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    And yet again, the fast food version of the game proves the joke's still on the fans for supporting this silliness.