Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades, BBL 2013-14, MCG December 20, 2013

Wright, Bird power Stars to win in opener

Melbourne Stars 208 for 7 (Wright 70, White 53) beat Melbourne Renegades 132 (Buttler 49, Bird 4-31) by 76 runs

After losing to the Melbourne Renegades twice last season, the Melbourne Stars exacted revenge on their cross-town rivals in dazzling style on the opening night of the Big Bash League.

The Stars did so on the back of a dominant batting display. Put in to bat on a superb track at the MCG, with short boundaries, the Stars climbed into the Renegades bowlers.

Openers Luke Wright (70 from 32 balls) and Cameron White (53 from 38) clubbed 94 runs in the first eight overs to set up the match. The pair were particular severe on Will Sheridan, who conceded 45 in his first two overs. The Stars showed their depth in the batting line-up as Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hodge and David Hussey were able to waltz in one after the other and swing freely from the outset.

The only Renegades bowler to escape punishment was Muttiah Muralitharan who conceding 23 runs in four overs and bagged the key scalp of Wright.

The Renegades pain was compounded further when fast bowler Jayde Herrick suffered a side strain mid-way through the 19th over. Sheridan was asked to complete the over and, although he claimed the wicket of Marcus Stoinis with his second ball, the first ball he bowled disappeared over the wide long-off rope.

The Renegades chase hinged on the Stars nemesis, Aaron Finch. Jackson Bird, making a comeback after a lengthy lay-off due to stress fractures, was greeted by Finch with a powerful lofted six over cover-point. Finch found the boundary on four more occasions thereafter and threatened to spoil the party once again. However, the opener lacked support as he lost three partners during his stay, before he fell to a sensational catch from David Hussey.

Englishman Jos Buttler followed Wright's lead with some clean striking during a brisk 49. But the Renegades fell well short, Bird finishing as the chief destroyer with 4 for 31. Maxwell capped the Stars' win, contributing to the last three wickets with two good catches and a run-out off a direct hit.

A crowd of 25,266 was around 10,000 short of expectations, though there will be as much interest at Cricket Australia in the size of the television audience for the first BBL fixture to be broadcast on a free-to-air network since the competition's inception.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Don on December 21, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    25,000 not too bad for the Friday evening before Christmas, when shopping and partying would be strong competition. Perhaps more importantly, Melbourne's biggest selling paper had the BBL on the back page this morning and a two page article about the game inside. This morning's radio news bulletin that I heard included a summary of the game before any mention of soccer: just what CA would want. That said, I reckon that the TV viewing numbers would be the key performance measure and I hope that they were strong.

    At the game, Bird consistently hit a tight length that eluded other bowlers and seemed to gain good movement. Great to know that we have a quality bowler waiting to be called up.

  • Peter on December 21, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    @Mitty2 - agree with you on Bird - he is a "nice type" as Jack Dyer used to say.

  • Chris on December 21, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Massive of empty stands :)

  • John on December 20, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Only saw the back half of the MR inns as I didn't realise it was being shown in the UK. As an Englishman it was good to see Jos show a bit of promise and (although I didn't see the inns) good to see Wright get a good score. A small consolation from our national side's pathetic effort

  • nikhil on December 20, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    please recall white in the one-day team as at present he is at the peak of his form

  • Hamish on December 20, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Watching from the boundary it was good to see Bird bowling so well - Murali was also v good. Bird was clearly head and shoulders above the other bowlers with the best accuracy, most pace and bounce and of course the biggest threat. His over to Finch was a highlight - six, beaten twice, close to LBW next ball and then 4. And all 4 of his wickets were genuine wicket taking deliveries. Bird's action and rhythm is really something to watch, and I can't help but feel he's bowling much faster than what he was in England with his back stress. Anyway, interesting that he's favourite hunting ground is actually the slower, lower MCG, with the shield games he played against Vic here he dominated and his first test he did really well as well. Can't wait to see him in the SA tour, and considering the Shield back ups aren't in the best form (Sayers, Cutting, NCN), if there's an injury he should be next in.

    Really, for the opening match at the 'G, 25 000 is pathetic. A-league crowds will be better

  • Aaron on December 20, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Pretty complete performance from the Stars. The batting fired, the bowling was good and Wade kept well. Fielding needs a little work, a few times they weren't quite up to scratch and that could bite them in a closer match. But a very good start.

  • richard on December 20, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Good to see Bird getting some much needed practice.

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