Melbourne Stars survive frantic final over
Melbourne Stars 7 for 154 (Maxwell 66, Pietersen 49) beat Melbourne Renegades 6 for 153 (Wade 71, Faulkner 3-19) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
An incredible encounter between the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades came down to the final ball, with Stars edging the win following a tight call from the third umpire.
Stars needed one run of that final ball, and following two run-outs from the previous two deliveries and all the fielders up in the circle, Tom Triffitt was under immense pressure to collect that run. Nathan Rimmington ran in to bowl, and Triffitt unconvincingly flicked towards Callum Ferguson at silly mid-on. Triffitt and Scott Boland, the non-striker, immediately set off for the run, but Ferguson dived, picked up the ball, swiveled and fired the ball towards the stumps at the bowler's end, all in one movement. The stumps were broken with Triffitt short of the crease despite a desperate dive, but the third umpire ruled that it was Rimmington's body and not the ball that had disturbed them.
Amid confusion over what had broken the stumps, it initially seemed as if Renegades had pulled off a stunning heist and sent the game into a Super Over. The players' bewildered looks did not give away any clues as to what might have actually happened, and it took many replays for TV umpire Geoff Joshua to make the match-deciding call. Some angles suggested that Ferguson had hit the stumps directly, but perhaps the most telling of them showed that the stumps had lit up a fraction of a second before the ball made contact with them. Joshua gave the benefit of the doubt to the batsman, and when the green 'Not Out' was finally displayed on the giant screen, the Stars players exploded with joy, celebrating a three-wicket win - their third of the season, which keeps them on course for a semi-final spot.
A thrilling finish was the farthest thing from everybody's mind when Glenn Maxwell raised his first fifty in 16 innings to leave his team poised for a comfortable win. Maxwell slammed two fours and four sixes to make a 44-ball 66, and shared a 120-run stand for the third wicket with Kevin Pietersen, who was content playing a supporting role by mainly rotating the strike with ones and twos.
Stars were struggling at 2 for 14 when the two came together; they were 3 for 134 by the time they were separated, needing only 20 runs from 28 balls. However, the boundaries dried up after Maxwell's dismissal - none were scored after the 15th over - and a number of quick wickets brought Renegades back into the game.
Their resurgence began when Pietersen, in an attempt to quickly finish the game, mistimed a pull off Ben Stokes to the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. Stokes followed this up with the scalp of James Faulkner in the very next delivery, and Stars were suddenly staring at a tense finish.
Triffitt and Alex Keath huffed and puffed their way to singles and twos to bring the equation down to six off the final over, but once again two wickets off successive balls pegged Stars back. In keeping with the frantic nature of the final few overs, Stars looked to exploit a misfield in the deep and run the final three runs, but an excellent throw back to the bowler meant that Keath was run out for 6. The next ball, the bowler Rimmington saved a ball hit straight at him, and ran out John Hastings at the non-strikers' end, setting the game up for an enthralling climax.
The nature of the crazy ending made Wade's 49-ball 71 in the first innings seem like a distant memory. Wade hit two fours and four sixes on his way to his first half-century of the tournament, and put on 58 for the fourth wicket with Tom Beaton. It left the team well set for a final surge, but a late burst from James Faulkner meant that Renegades could only post 6 for 153.
What they wouldn't have given for a run or two more.
Anuj Vignesh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo