Sensational Stoinis and Larkin steer Stars to BBL final

By Sports Desk February 06, 2020

Marcus Stoinis and Nick Larkin shared a brilliant 117-run partnership to fire Melbourne Stars into the Big Bash League final with a convincing 28-run win over Sydney Thunder.

The Stars topped the regular-season table but were battered by Sydney Sixers in last week's Qualifier.

However, they will get a shot at redemption in Saturday's showpiece after winning the Challenger on home turf at the MCG with Stoinis and man of the match Larkin each hammering 83 in an imposing score of 194-2.

Stoinis' knock saw him break the record for the most runs in a single BBL season and, despite Alex Ross putting on 45 and 58 with Chris Morris and Arjun Nair, the Thunder could only muster 166-8 in reply with Haris Rauf (3-17), Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-29) and Adam Zampa (2-43) doing the damage.

STOINIS AND LARKIN MAKE THUNDER TOIL

It has been a BBL season to remember for Stoinis, whose 695 runs so far betters the 637 accumulated by D'Arcy Short last term.

There were seven fours and three sixes from the Australia limited-overs international from his 54 balls, and he made the most of being dropped down the leg side by Jay Lenton.

While Stoinis was eventually bowled by Morris, Larkin was unbeaten come the end of a brutal 49-ball knock in which he clubbed three straight over the ropes and recorded another nine fours.

 

RAUF AND CO. FINISH THE JOB

The Thunder had already seen dangerman Alex Hales (8) run out and Usman Khawaja (23 off 15) bowled by Coulter-Nile after a promising start by the time Rauf tempted captain Callum Ferguson (7) into a misguided waft that sailed to wicketkeeper Seb Gotch. 

Needing partnerships, Ross – whose knock of 58 included three fours and as many sixes – was combining well with Morris before the latter was bowled by the brilliant Rauf.

The writing was on the wall even before Ross and Nair each fell to Zampa in the 17th over and Rauf claimed one more for his personal tally from the final set of six when Lenton picked out Nic Maddinson at deep midwicket.

Related items

  • Pollard's unbeaten 75 in vain as New Zealand win first T20 international by five wickets Pollard's unbeaten 75 in vain as New Zealand win first T20 international by five wickets

    A dramatic batting collapse and poor bowling were at the root of the West Indies five-wicket loss to New Zealand in the opening encounter of their three-match T20 series in Auckland on Friday.

    In a match interrupted several times by rain, the West Indies lost five wickets for one run but recovered to 180 for 7 thanks to some calculated hitting from their captain, Kieron Pollard.

    However, New Zealand replied with 179 for five from 15.2 overs to win by Duckworth/Lewis method.

    The home side won the toss and asked the visitors to bat and they obliged racing to 58 without loss in 19 balls courtesy of Andre Fletcher’s 14-ball 34 that included three fours and three sixes.

    However, when he was bowled by Lockie Ferguson the second ball of the fourth over, it triggered a collapse wherein the West Indies lost five wickets in 11 balls. Four balls later, he had Shimron Hetmyer caught behind without scoring – 58 for 2.

    The West Indies lost two wickets in the following over bowled by Tim Southee, who removed Brandon King for 13 and Rovman Powell without scoring as the West Indies stumbled to 58 for 4. In the very next over, Ferguson trapped Nicholas Pooran lbw for 1 and the West Indies had collapsed to 59 for 5.

    Pollard came to the rescue of the Caribbean side as he and Fabian Allen hauled the West Indies to 143 in the 14th over when Ferguson had Allen caught for 30 behind and Keemo Paul out by a similar route without scoring to leave the West Indies 146 for 7.

    Meanwhile, at the other end Pollard was at his destructive best, smashing 75 off just 37 balls with four fours and eight sixes to carry the Caribbean side to a competitive total.

    Man of the Match Ferguson returned figures of 5 for 21 from his four overs, while Southee took 2 for 22 from 3.

    However, the Pollard-led recovery was all for naught as New Zealand, led by Neesham’s unbeaten 24-ball 48 and Devon Conway’s 29-ball 41, propelled New Zealand to 179 for 5 from 15.2overs and the series lead.

    Neesham and Conway dragged New Zealand back from 63 for 4 mid-way the seventh over to what turned out to be a comfortable victory. In a fifth-wicket stand of 77 that came off just 34 balls, the pair smashed the West Indies bowling to all parts before Conway fell to Pollard in the 13th over but by then the damage had been done.

    Mitchell Santer picked up from there smashing three sixes as he raced to an unbeaten 31 from just 18 balls to secure victory.

    New Zealand were aided by poor bowling from the West Indies, especially from Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams being, who were most culpable. Paul bowled five no-balls while giving up 39 runs from his three overs while Williams’ half volleys saw him being taken for 33 runs from two overs. Allen gave up 32 from two overs.

    Oshane Thomas 2 for 23 from three overs was the best of the West Indies bowlers while Sheldon Cottrell returned figures of 1 for 30 from his four overs.

     

     

  • Brathwaite unbeaten on 235 as West Indies go to lunch at 463 for 4 against NZ 'A' Brathwaite unbeaten on 235 as West Indies go to lunch at 463 for 4 against NZ 'A'

    Kraigg Brathwaite completed a double-century on day two of their warm-up match against New Zealand ‘A’ at Queenstown as the West Indies went to lunch on 463 for 4.

    At the break, Brathwaite was unbeaten on 235 and Shane Dowrich, 19. So far the pair have added 34 runs for the fifth wicket from nine overs.

    Resuming from his overnight score of 183 and the West Indies 353 for 3, Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood, 19 overnight, pushed the score for 429 when the latter was bowled by Rachin Ravindra for 53.

    Blackwood scored his runs from 82 balls in his 115-minute stay at the crease during which he hit four fours. Together the pair that came together at 322 for 3, put in 107 runs in 27.1 overs as the West Indies continued to build on their massive total.

    Ravindra has taken 2 for 59 from 19 overs.

  • Finch lauds Kohli as 'probably the best one-day player of all time' ahead of ODI series Finch lauds Kohli as 'probably the best one-day player of all time' ahead of ODI series

    Aaron Finch hailed Virat Kohli as "probably the best one-day player of all time" as Australia prepare to face India in an eagerly awaited ODI series.

    India have not been in action since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but their wait will come to an end at the SCG on Friday.

    Australia should be confident after beating world champions 2-1 in the 50-over format in September and both sides will welcome being able to play in front of crowds.

    Kohli headed to Australia on the back of being the ninth-highest run-scorer in the Indian Premier League and Australia captain Finch has lavished praise on his opposite number ahead of the three-match series.

    "If you look at his record, it's second to none. It really is remarkable," said Finch, who also featured in the IPL. "What we have to keep in mind is that we have to keep looking to get him out.

    "When you go away from that and you look to contain players, you can miss a trick. He's probably the best one-day player of all time, so it's about sticking to our plans and being really committed in that regard."

    Kohli will be looking not only for a series victory, but also to consolidate his status as the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world in the absence of his injured team-mate Rohit Sharma.

    India paceman Jasprit Bumrah, meanwhile, could regain top spot in the bowler rankings, as he only trails New Zealand's Trent Boult by three points.

    The two sides, who will wear black armbands in tribute to late Australia great Dean Jones, will be playing for ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points.

     

    OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR AGARWAL

    A hamstring injury sustained during the IPL means there will be no Rohit at the top of the India order, so Mayank Agarwal looks set to partner Shikhar Dhawan.

    Agarwal failed to show what he is capable of when India were whitewashed by New Zealand in February.

    The 29-year-old was in good touch during the IPL, though, scoring 424 runs at an average of 38.54 and making a century for Kings XI against Rajasthan Royals.

    KL Rahul is likely to come in down the order, given he will take up the role of wicketkeeper-batsman.

     

    WARNER TO MAKE HAY AT HAPPY HUNTING GROUND?

    Australia have a formidable recent record at the SCG, winning 11 of their previous 13 ODIs at the famous venue.

    They have also come out on top in all but two of their previous 16 encounters with India at the Sydney fortress.

    India's last ODI victory over Australia at the venue came in January 2016 and dismissing David Warner cheaply may be key to repeating that feat.

    The opener has an ODI average of 57.2 at the SCG, higher than any other player in the men's game from 10 innings or more. Warner has scored two hundreds and a half-century in his last five knocks at the venue.

     

    KEY OPTA FACTS

    - Kohli is 133 runs away from becoming only the sixth man to record 12,000 in ODIs. 
    - India have won 12 of their last 18 ODIs against Australia, including the previous two.
    - The tourists have won five of their last seven bilateral ODI series versus Australia, including a 2-1 win in the most recent series on Australian soil early last year.
    - Finch is just 17 shy of becoming the 16th Australian to score 5,000 ODI runs. He has not been dismissed for a single-figure total in any of his last 10 ODI knocks.
    - Mohammed Shami (50) has taken more ODI wickets since the beginning of 2019 than any other player; Australia duo Adam Zampa and Pat Cummins (43 each) are joint-second.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.