Melbourne Stars 3 for 191 (Quiney 75, Maxwell 58*) beat Hobart Hurricanes 4 for 188 (Paine 91, Bailey 74*) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Melbourne Stars delivered a statement in their opening match of the tournament with a clinical seven-wicket win over the Hobart Hurricanes in Hobart.
The Stars made the Hurricanes impressive total of 4 for 188 look thoroughly inadequate thanks to a brilliant 43 ball 75 from experienced opener Rob Quiney. England import Luke Wright allowed Quiney to settle with a quick-fire 48 at the top. Glenn Maxwell then finished the job with ease, producing some pure ball-striking after Quiney was dismissed.
Earlier the Hurricanes had dug themselves out of a major hole. Ben Hilfenhaus hit off stump twice with his first two balls of the match to reduce the Hurricanes to 2 for 6. They slipped to 3 for 32 when Kumar Sangakkara holed out to long off. Tim Paine and George Bailey then combined for a Hurricanes franchise-record stand of 145 to set a competitive total on a superb batting surface. But it wasn't enough.
A Quiney reminder
Quiney was forced to bat in the lower-middle order for the Stars throughout last year's BBL campaign. The Stars finished as runners-up using Wright and Marcus Stoinis as openers for a majority of the tournament. Quiney, left out of Victoria's Sheffield Shield squad this season, has been playing club cricket and second XI cricket. He found some form in the Stars' practice matches and struck the ball powerfully against the Hurricanes. He was savage over the leg side off both pacers and the spinners. With Kevin Pietersen set to return after missing this game due to family commitments, Quiney reminded the Stars' selectors of his value at the top of the order.
Bucking the bat-first trend
The Hurricanes elected to bat, hoping to continue the momentum they found while setting a total in their tournament opener against Sydney Sixers. Teams batting first had won four straight games in the tournament after the Sixers won chasing in game one against the Sydmey Thunder. It seemed an anomaly given the team chasing won 20 of 35 matches in last year's Big Bash, including all three finals matches. The Stars went some way to squaring the ledger in BBL06 with a flawless chase.
Piling on the Paine
Paine's 91 from 61 balls was his highest T20 score and his second consecutive half-century of the tournament, following his 63 in against the Sixers. He took his time early but stepped up through the middle over and scored fluently all around the ground. He and Bailey mixed superb stroke-play with excellent running in their record stand.
At 32, Paine is a forgotten man in Australian cricket. He has played four tests, 26 One-Day Internationals and five T20 internationals for as a wicketkeeper batsman. But he has not played a single Sheffield Shield game this season because Tasmania have preferred Jake Doran. Paine has had to ply his trade in second XI cricket despite a superior test average to both current test keeper Matthew Wade, and Peter Nevill, who Wade replaced. He also has a superior T20 average and strike-rate compared to both Wade and Nevill, who have alternated in the role for Australia at T20 level as well.
Hilfenhaus' horror hat-trick ball
Hilfenhaus made the perfect start with the ball clattering the off stumps of both D'Arcy Short and Dom Michael with his first two balls of the match. Michael has now faced 10 balls in BBL cricket and has been dismissed four times without scoring a single run. Sangakkara walked out to face the hat-trick ball and could not have got friendlier delivery if he had pre-ordered it. Hilfenhaus delivered a full toss above waist-high wide outside off stump and Sangakkara caressed it through point for four. He also got a free hit next ball as it was a no-ball for height.