Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars, BBL 2015-16, Docklands January 9, 2016

Stoinis, Pietersen ensure Stars triumph

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Melbourne Stars 2 for 156 (Pietersen 67*, Handscomb 39*) beat Melbourne Renegades 6 for 155 (Bravo 59*, Stoinis 3-11) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kevin Pietersen scored his second fifty in this edition of the BBL © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

A week (that feels like a lifetime) ago, Chris Gayle was a columnist for Fairfax Media. In his final column - he has since filed a defamation case against the company for allegations made in its pages - he claimed he and Kevin Pietersen were the Melbourne derby's big draws, but Pietersen was no match for him. This week, with all the build-up surrounding Gayle for the wrong reasons, Pietersen did as Pietersen does, and stole the show in style.

There was only ever one way Gayle could have responded to an eye-popping week with anything approaching elegance. It is now his bat that has to do his talking, as Channel Ten have ruled out any further involvement in their coverage, and he won't speak to media again during the competition, even if he scores a century. From his first ball, when he miscued a slog sweep off Michael Beer, it was clear that he knew this.

After losing his opening partner Tom Cooper early, this mis-hit caused Gayle to go into his shell (if he has one), with seven of his next eight deliveries dots. That was until Adam Zampa entered the attack. Gayle rocked back and sent his second delivery into the second tier, and three balls later, he had six more in a similar region. But the introduction of Marcus Stoinis ended Gayle's tired innings just as it looked like waking up, as he swatted a short ball to long-on. Gayle's meaningful contributions were done, and many would have been relieved to note the evening even passed without any overt "Stand by Gayle" moments among the crowd of 43,176 as there had been on Wednesday when the MCG confiscated banners.

Vocal distaste was shown towards Cameron White, who moved across town this season, not Gayle. But after a sprightly innings from White, in which he sent the first two balls from the unusually expensive John Hastings for six then four, he fell the ball after Gayle, edging behind when looking to glide Stoinis to third man. When Peter Nevill was run-out in extraordinary fashion at the non-striker's end off his own bat and Adam Zampa's nose, and Aaron Ayre was lbw first ball, the Renegades were in deep trouble at 5 for 78.

Dwayne Bravo marshalled the rebuild with some fine hitting. He shared 66 with Tom Beaton, who cut powerfully and was strong through square leg and also fell to Stoinis; a clever, looping slower ball sneaking under his bat. Bravo had gone after Hastings, taking him for 23 from 10 balls, including three fours in an over, and a six in the last over almost spectacularly saved by Stoinis at long-off, and the Renegades ended on 155 two balls later.

After the second innings of the match was delayed by lingering smoke from ill-advised fireworks involved in the half-time entertainment, the Stars flew out of the blocks. The first three overs cost 32, with Stoinis looking in sublime touch, with drives and pulls through the leg side. Luke Wright had four fours of his own by the end of the third over, and the Renegades managed just four dots in that time. Bravo, and a wonderful trickily disguised slower ball, saw Stoinis bowled behind his legs. Wright continued upon his merry way, before slapping youngster Cameron Stevenson to cover for 37.

For Stars, this was barely a speedbump, but Renegades, who are all but out of contention having only taken 22 wickets in six games, were profligate. Pietersen, who offered a tough return catch to Bravo on 7, was joined by Peter Handscomb, who timed his pull shots wonderfully from the start, and the pair ran brilliantly between the wickets. In consecutive overs, with the Renegades in the last chance saloon, Pietersen skied Bravo into the off side and substitute Ben McDermott, running in from deep cover, and White, running back, let a catch fall between them, and soon Bravo let a Handscomb swipe through his hands for six on the midwicket fence.

Much in the manner of Wright and Glenn Maxwell a week ago, the pair just calmly chipped away at their total. There were fireworks, a pair of magnificent Pietersen sixes over long-on for instance, but this was the calculated, efficient and ruthless unpicking of an inferior team. Stars are missing big names but, as they cruise towards the finals after their horror start, have plenty left in reserve.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaggy076 on January 11, 2016, 2:06 GMT

    Ajshan: Their are a couple of points here 1) Gayle is a drawcard. People love watching him bat 2) Teams involving Chris Gayle are very unsuccessful. So your between the showcase or being successful. Look at teams like Adelaide, Melbourne Stars etc haven't they drawn bigger crowds than the renegades due to on-field success. Chris Rogers stated that Chris Gayle and the attitude is a bit of a cancer on a team (not Chris Rogers actual words) and if you look at results of the Sydney Thunder and Renegades their is a decent case for this. He might win you 1 in 4 games but teams with him have become so reliant on him.

  • Cricinfouser on January 10, 2016, 1:46 GMT

    BrutalAnalyst I'd like to see Wright, but KP is more likely to be in the South Africa side. we'll almost certainly open with Hales and Roy, with Vince,Morgan, Root and Buttler rounding out the top 6

  • Ajshan on January 9, 2016, 21:57 GMT

    Half of the article talks about Gayle abd count how many times his name is included in this article? So no stopping Gayle! C Ten may not interview him but " they will know what they are missing when explodes "

  • J_Wright on January 9, 2016, 20:44 GMT

    KP and Wright (who has a fantastic surname btw) aren't needed for England to win the WC. T20 cricket is hit and giggle and luck!!

  • chaitan31 on January 9, 2016, 17:43 GMT

    KP for Englands T20 XI at WT20 India! Cmon England!

  • Peter_The_Average on January 9, 2016, 15:47 GMT

    My footy team sucks and now I picked the bad Melbourne team to support.

  • BRUTALANALYST on January 9, 2016, 14:41 GMT

    If England don't include Wright and KP in the top order for the World Cup the best chance of winning the Cup isn't being taken seriously.

  • SamRoy on January 9, 2016, 14:22 GMT

    Chris "has been" the most dangerous hitter by a country mile in T20 cricket. He is 36 now and at least a year and half past his prime. But still the guy (who is my favorite T20 player by the way) doesn't show any shortage of ego. Only a small piece of advice for Chris. "Mate, you are getting old. Mellow down. Otherwise you are going to become a laughing stock." And at least be more professional.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on January 9, 2016, 13:37 GMT

    Good for Chris Gayle. I was worried he'd get a duck or something.

  • trigga315 on January 9, 2016, 12:31 GMT

    One of the most bizarre dismissals, Neville really can not catch a break consodering how much he needs a bat.

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