Ludeman's record fifty stuns Stars
Adelaide Strikers 149 for 2 (Ludeman 92*) beat Melbourne Stars 148 for 7 (Pietersen 66, Richardson 2-20) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Adelaide Oval hosted 27,425 people - a record for the opening match of a Big Bash League season - and they watched the Adelaide Strikers complete their first ever win over the Melbourne Stars, thrashing them by eight wickets.
A brutal fifty from the Strikers' wicketkeeper and opening batsman Tim Ludeman, the fastest in BBL history off only 18 balls, provided an explosive start to a chase of 148 and laid the platform for a comfortable victory for the home side. He was unbeaten on 92 off 44 balls when the game ended in the 13th over.
A fifty of a very different nature from BBL-debutant Kevin Pietersen appeared to haul the Stars to a competitive total, but such thoughts were dashed by Ludeman's power.
The Stars, who elected to bat on a good pitch, lost their captain Cameron White for 6 in the fifth over. Although that was the only wicket to fall, they could only score 67 runs in the first 10 overs as a result of some good bowling and irregular shuffling of the attack. Luke Wright, who struck a four off his first ball, struggled to accelerate but his 37-ball 45 laid a platform for the Stars and also elevated him above Shaun Marsh to become the third-highest BBL run-scorer.
The Stars briefly threatened in the 11th over when Pietersen, batting at three, wearing a helmet camera and miked up to the commentary box, hooked consecutive sixes off Kieron Pollard. Pietersen's 66 of 44 balls was characterised by grit and evoked sharp memories of 10 years of international brilliance. However, wickets fell at regular intervals in the back 10 overs as the Stars spluttered their way towards 150.
Glenn Maxwell, batting at four, was unfortunate to be given out caught behind. The ball had deflected off his pad as he attempted a switch-hit, but the Strikers deserve credit for some excellent bowling and tight fielding. Legspinner Adam Zampa, in particular, was impressive conceding just 21 from his four overs and taking one wicket.
It could have been even better for the Strikers with three economical overs - two from their captain Johan Botha and one from Kane Richardson - left unused. However, the couple of overs from part-timer Craig Simmons, bowling for the first time in T20 cricket, appeared to surprise the Stars and upset their rhythm. They managed only two double-digit overs and two double-figure scores between them - Wright and Pietersen - as their innings fizzled to a close.
The Strikers slammed 23 and 20 off the third and fourth overs to get ahead of what could have been a tricky chase. Ludeman and his opening partner Simmons, thrashed 85 off the Powerplay, the highest in BBL history, blitzing eight fours and six sixes before the end of the sixth over.
Simmons fell just before the end of the Powerplay for a 15-ball 30, caught well by Wright off the bowling off John Hastings, but the damage had been done. Ludeman continued his onslaught even as the fielders dropped back and the required rate dropped below four by the end of the ninth over. Travis Head came, saw, hit and went, before Ludeman's clean and fearless striking saw the Strikers to victory with eight wickets in hand and 7.3 overs to spare.
Freddie Wilde is a freelance T20 journalist. @fwildecricket