Hobart Hurricanes 6 for 180 (McDermott 67, Wade 39, Russell 3-48) beat Melbourne Stars 9 for 156 (Clarke 52, Rogers 3-29, Meredith 3-32) by 24 runs
Hobart Hurricanes ignited their stuttering BBL season with a brilliant effort, halting Melbourne Stars' batters in a contest marred by a contentious deliberate short run by Tim David. Hurricanes were hit with a rare five-run penalty after David intentionally grounded his bat about two meters short of the crease during the first run while trying to run two in the last over of the innings. But it seemed to spur the hosts who then restricted the powerful Stars batters in a desperately needed win for Hurricanes.
Hurricanes' reshuffle lifts struggling batting
A desperate Hurricanes rejigged their batting, with Ben McDermott promoted to open in place of struggling D'Arcy Short. And it did the trick, with big-hitting McDermott, who normally bats at No.4, getting Hurricanes off to a flyer with fellow opener Matthew Wade. He hit the first ball of the innings from Glenn Maxwell to the boundary en route to a 14-run opening over.
Such was the belligerence of his new opening partner that Wade was uncharacteristically outpaced, although he crossed 2000 BBL runs in the process. Their 93-run stand ended in the tenth over when Wade holed out to a fine catch by Hilton Cartwright as Hurricanes resisted the temptation to elevate David, with Short instead coming to the crease.
His form struggles, however, contributed to McDermott's loss of momentum and eventual demise for 67. Short now seems like a mile off the dynamo who was once the BBL's best batter as he crawled to 6 off his first ten balls. He briefly rediscovered his old touch when he blasted 14 off Andre Russell in the power surge but soon fell for 26.
Hurricanes then strangely brought in Peter Handscomb instead of David, who belatedly had a chance at the death and showcased his brute strength with a massive six off Russell in the penultimate over. David made a quick fire 12-ball 22, and was also involved in a rather comical controversy; however, Hurricanes might soon need to start using him far earlier.
Zampa-less Stars fight back well
Stars had the tough task without talisman Adam Zampa, who was rested after his heavy workload in recent months, particularly on a belter of a pitch, and with Hurricanes' openers on fire. But they performed brilliantly to claw back into the contest initially through Qais Ahmad, who held his own against the tide, while young quick Brody Couch continued to impress with his zip and accuracy.
Stars successfully reverted their tactics in the backend of the innings by bowling full and wide, as the experienced pair Russell and Nathan Coulter-Nile frustrated Hurricanes, whose innings ran out of puff. It was an impressive comeback from Stars, with skipper Maxwell doing a stellar job by rotating his bowlers and implementing a well-planned strategy.
Stars' high-voltage batting fails to spark
Stars fancied their chances but lost the key wickets of Marcus Stoinis and Maxwell in the opening eight overs to dent their chances. The pressure was on English import Joe Clarke, who had made two ducks in his only innings this season, but he rediscovered his best with a 37-ball half-century.
Clarke made his move in the tenth over with consecutive sixes off Sandeep Lamichhane, who leaked 18 runs in a momentum-shifting over. The wicketkeeper-batter found a willing ally in Joe Burns, who made a timely BBL season start with a composed knock.
But just when Stars looked the goods, Clarke and Burns departed in quick succession as the visitors fell away. Too much was left to do for Russell, playing in his penultimate BBL game this season, and when he fell in the 18th over, the result was effectively sealed. Stars suffered their third defeat of the season, and continue to be hard to read as they strive for a first BBL title.
Hurricanes revive their campaign
Five less runs to play with courtesy of the short-run penalty, Hurricanes were under pressure but they put in an inspired performance having struggled with the ball this season. Perhaps David's controversy motivated them because Hurricanes were sharp in the field and particularly animated when they took wickets.
In the thick of the action, David took a superb forward-diving catch to remove the dangerous Stoinis and set the tone for Hurricanes. Harry Brook added another stellar catch to dismiss Maxwell as Hurricanes then kept their cool amid Clarke's onslaught.
They looked a much different team with Riley Meredith hitting his straps, as the speedster bowled at speeds around 150kph and claimed three wickets in his second game this season. With Tom Rogers also bowling well at the death, Hurricanes issued a reminder of why they were highly rated heading into the season.