Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars, BBL 2015-16, Sydney December 27, 2015

Handscomb, Maxwell help Stars to first points

Melbourne Stars 5 for 143 (Handscomb 52, Maxwell 50, Bollinger 2-31) beat Sydney Thunder 6 for 139 (Henriques 41, Silk 35, Hilfenhaus 2-35) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Glenn Maxwell's 83-run stand with Peter Handscomb in just 10.2 overs converted Melbourne Stars' chase into a cruise © Getty Images

Glenn Maxwell was at the forefront as the Melbourne Stars brushed aside the Sydney Sixers at the SCG to demonstrate how the balance of BBL power appears to be shifting.

The Stars had been vanquished at the MCG by the Sydney Thunder, for so long the tournament underachievers. But they proved far too powerful for the Sixers who, without a major innings from either Brad Haddin or Nic Maddinson, were unable to set a challenging target for the visitors.

There was irony as the Sixers were tied in knots by the spin triangle of Michael Beer, Adam Zampa and Maxwell, exactly the strategy they favoured themselves against at the SCG. But without Nathan Lyon's wiles due to his Test match duties in Melbourne, the Sydney spin collective was second best, though Steve O'Keefe did not bowl badly upfront for the hosts.

Any chances of the Sixers defending their mediocre 139 was snuffed out by Maxwell, who played with invention and power but also a degree of restraint while partnering Peter Handscomb. Their stand of c was exactly what the situation required.

Having lost twice against Adelaide Strikers and the Thunder to commence the competition, the Stars needed a win, and Maxwell's all-round contribution played large part in achieving it. He has ambitions to play Tests for Australia, but of more pressing responsibility is to play a dominant role in the national team's tilt at a first World Twenty20 title in India early next year.

In addition to defeat, the Sixers also had to cope with injury to Moises Henriques, who was forced to retire hurt with a calf injury just when his side were hoping to lift off. The apparent recurrence of a problem that Henriques battled in November had the Sixers captain holding his hand to his head as he was conveyed from the ground on a motorised stretcher.

That injury may yet keep Henriques out of the remainder of the BBL. As importantly it is another blow to the formerly dominant Sydney T20 team - the Thunder are giving them a run for the domestic dollar this summer.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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