Melbourne Stars 1 for 219 (Stoinis 147, Cartwright 59) beat Sydney Sixers 7 for 175 (Dwarshuis 42*, Hinchliffe 3-20) by 44 runs
Marcus Stoinis set a new BBL record with a staggering 147 not out as the Melbourne Stars sent a statement to their rivals with a crushing win over the second-placed Sydney Sixers at the MCG.
Stoinis smacked 13 fours and eight sixes in an extraordinary display, eclipsing D'Arcy Short's previous record of 122. His 207-run stand with Hilton Cartwright was also the highest in BBL history overtaking the previous record of 172 held by Stars duo Luke Wright and Rob Quiney from 2012. He also faced 79 balls, the equal highest ever in a T20 game.
Stoinis told Channel Seven after his innings: "That's just the most fun you can ever have in the world."
It meant the Stars' in-form captain Glenn Maxwell faced just two balls for the innings as they posted the third highest total in BBL history. Hilton Cartwright played a critical hand making 59 from 40 in a supporting role that won high praise from his skipper for holding his nerve given Stoinis dominated the strike.
Ben Dwarshuis broke an unwanted record for the Sixers, conceding 61 runs from his four overs, the most by any bowler in the BBL.
The Sixers were never in the hunt in the chase despite scoring quicker than the Stars through the first 10 overs. Moises Henriques made a classy 41 but his departure in the 11th over snuffed out all hope. Clint Hinchliffe, who had never previously taken more than one wicket in a T20 match, finished with career-best figures of 3 for 20.
A slow burn
Neither Stoinis nor Cartwright exploded out of the blocks. Stoinis admitted after his innings that he was as nervous as he had ever been following a duck in his last game. They made 78 runs in the first 10 overs, absorbing 26 dot balls in the first 60 deliveries and struck just two sixes. Jackson Bird and Steve O'Keefe were particularly effective a really good batting surface, not allowing the batsmen to free their arms.
No Maxwell, no worries
There were concerns at halfway that Maxwell might be wasted sitting on the sidelines as Cartwright was 25 from 24 balls, but they had laid the perfect platform to target both Dwarshuis and Tom Curran in different ways. Stoinis sat deep in his crease and the Sixers failed to get their length full enough. Time and again he sat back and clubbed shorter length balls to and over the rope. Cartwright then punished the full balls, thumping them through the line down the ground. Stoinis reached his century off 60 balls in the 16th over but with four overs remaining the score was just 158. The last 24 balls were carnage as the Stars struck six fours and four sixes to all parts of the MCG. There were ramps, uppercuts, off drives, pull shots and an outrageous bottom-handed flick from Stoinis that cleared the long boundary at midwicket. Dwarshuis conceded 24 runs in the 19th over. Stoinis hit the last ball of the innings for six over square leg and the Sixers were fortunate it was not judged a no-ball for being a full toss above waist-high.
The price of doing business
Only once had a side ever chased more in the BBL, when the Hobart Hurricanes mowed down 223 against the Melbourne Renegades. That night the Hurricanes lost two wickets in the powerplay, including Short, in an attempt to stay with the required rate early. The Sixers went via the same route in the powerplay losing two wickets attempting to go all guns blazing. Josh Philippe skied one straight up in the air and Daniel Hughes holed out at deep square. James Vince also should have fallen but was dropped by Hinchliffe at deep square. They had two boundary-less overs in the powerplay, delivered by the wicket-takers Daniel Worrall and Haris Rauf. They managed to score 54 in the first six, which was higher than the Hurricanes' 2 for 48 in that record chase, with both Vince and Henriques set.
Henriques was the biggest threat for the Stars. He thumped back-to-back boundaries in the seventh over and then a huge slog sweep for six off Sandeep Lamichhane over wide long-on. Vince rode his luck having been dropped twice, the second a sitter to Worrall at mid-on, but he didn't survive the third chance he offered off Hinchliffe, picking out Maxwell. The Sixers were ahead of the Stars after 10 overs but the scoreboard pressure did for Henriques as he fell for a well-made 41. Maxwell was ruthless from there identifying Curran's weakness against spin and he was stumped off Lamichhane. The Sixers never got close although Dwarshuis exacted some revenge with the bat smashing 42 not out from 17 balls.