Melbourne Stars 4 for 163 (Stoinis 81*, Maddinson 40, Meredith 3-27) beat Hobart Hurricanes 111 (Rose 32*, Rauf 5-27, Maxwell 2-15, Zampa 2-29) by 52 runs
Stoinis made the most of some early fortune to make an unbeaten 81 that underpinned a solid total of 4 for 163 on a country pitch that was not easy to settle on. He shared an 81-run opening stand with Nic Maddinson, but both benefitted from mistakes by the Hurricanes, with Stoinis dropped twice and Maddinson bowled off a no-ball. Stoinis struck seven fours and four massive sixes in his 54-ball innings that really picked up pace after the powerplay.
Rauf then bagged his maiden T20 five-wicket haul, and was named Player of the Match, in just his second BBL game after being plucked from Hobart grade cricket. He took 5 for 27 from four overs, backing up the work of his skipper Glenn Maxwell, who took the key wickets of D'Arcy Short and David Miller in the powerplay. Spinners Sandeep Lamichhane and Adam Zampa tied the middle order in knots before Rauf blasted them out with express pace and some cleverly disguised slower balls.
The Stars now have two wins, despite not using the services of new recruits Dale Steyn and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
A drop from a Rose
Clive Rose opened the bowling as a specific match-up plan for Stoinis. The first ball he bowled to the right-hander produced an error - Stoinis scooped a leading edge back to Rose and he spilled the low chance. Stoinis swept the next ball for four. He was missed again in Rose's next over, slicing a ball to backward point only for Riley Meredith to lose the ball in the sun, with the easy catch hitting the turf untouched. Those two chances allowed Maddinson and Stoinis to capitalise. Maddinson did farm the majority of strike and battled to rotate it on a tough, low, skidding surface despite finding the boundary eight times with some powerful strikes through the off-side.
Rose, despite the drop, bowled superbly in the powerplay, conceding just 12 runs from three overs. But that good work was undone in the tenth over when Nathan Ellis bowled Maddinson off a no-ball. Stoinis then thumped a four, courtesy of a misfield, and a six to pick up the rate.
Left-right experiment halts momentum
Simon Milenko bucked the trend of misfields and dropped chances with a superb diving catch at backward point off Meredith to remove Maddinson. Maxwell and coach David Hussey decided to promote Ben Dunk to keep the left-right combination going in an attempt to nullify legspinner Qais Ahmad, instead of allowing the in-form Maxwell to bat with 59 balls left in the innings. Dunk made 19 off 12 and hit two sixes but he also absorbed five dot balls, before Meredith returned to remove Maxwell and Peter Handscomb as the innings lost impetus. The ball became softer and the pitch harder to score on as the Stars failed to find the boundary between the 15th and 18th overs. But both Stoinis and Hilton Cartwright were able to clear the rope in the last two overs to set a competitive total with the Hurricanes missing the services of specialist death bowler James Faulkner, who was strangely rested.
Maxwell's smart move
Maxwell used himself in the powerplay against the Hurricanes key man Short and left-handed opening partner Caleb Jewell. The decision worked a treat. Short was unable to find the boundary off Maxwell, scoring just four runs in five balls before pulling a quicker short ball straight to Daniel Worrall at backward square. Ben McDermott picked out midwicket with a miscued pull shot off the pace of Rauf in the next over. With Miller joining Jewell, Maxwell opted to bowl himself a third over in the powerplay against the two left-handers and he slid one through the gate of Miller as he charged and missed attempting a wild slog. The Hurricanes were 3 for 45 at end of the powerplay, and Maxwell had 2 for 15 from three overs.
Legspin twins have a ball before Rauf runs riot
With Short and Miller gone, Maxwell called upon his two legspinners Lamichhane and Zampa and the pair ripped through the middle order. Jewell fell to a top-edged sweep shot trying to sweep Lamichhane's wrong'un. Clint Hinchliffe took an outstanding diving catch running in from deep backward square. Zampa deceived Simon Milenko with a wrong'un and then a slider to clip his off bail. The pair took 2 for 16 in four overs. Rauf returned to rip through the tail bowling at 145kph-plus. He took three wickets in an over, bouncing out Mac Wright and then crashing through the fragile defences of Tom Rogers and Qais to flatten the stumps twice. He saved his best for last, fooling Ellis with a brilliant slower ball to claim his five-wicket haul. Rose was the only positive for the Hurricanes with the bat, smashing 32 not out including three sixes to post his highest score in T20s.