After a long string of low scores, Andre Fletcher finally came good with a man-of-the-match performance that saw the Melbourne Stars score a massive 111-run victory over the Adelaide Strikers in Melbourne on Thursday.

Let’s face it. Melbourne Stars batsman Andre Fletcher has not set the Big Bash League alight with his batting. The Grenadian batsman, who has been opening for the Stars, has a top score of 18 in seven outings. And, after scores of 10, 10, 18, 4, 6, 12 and 12, few would argue with the growing consensus that he should be to be dropped.

However, he showed on Sunday - with two spectacular catches against the Hobart Hurricanes - that his value extends well beyond his batting skills, as he twice helped swing the match in favour of the Stars, who eked out a close 10-run victory.

Fletcher made 10 of the Melbourne Stars’ 183 for 6 from their 20 overs, thanks mainly to Marcus Stoinis’ unbeaten 55-ball 97 that included seven fours and seven sixes; 36 from Hilton Cartwright and 26 from the in-form Nicholas Pooran.

Riley Meredith, who had Fletcher caught behind after his four-ball stay at the crease ended with 2 for 25 but it was Nathan Ellis, who dismissed Cartwright and Pooran, who was the Hurricanes’ best bowler with 3 for 31.

Daunting as the target might have seemed, Ben McDermott seemed headed to make light work of it with a blazing knock of 91 off just 58 balls and included eight fours and five sixes. It was while going for his sixth six that Fletcher intervened, changing the direction of the match in the process.

On the last ball of the 19th over, Liam Hatcher (1 for 45) served up a thigh-high full toss wide outside off McDermott, who flayed it flat over extra cover. Fletcher, known as the Spiceman, raced close to 10m to his left before taking off like Superman to hold on to a spectacular catch to have the Hurricanes at 163 for 5.

Fletcher’s blinder was his second of the match.

At the fall of the Hurricanes’ second wicket, that of Dawid Malan for 26 with the score 89, Colin Ingram and McDermott flayed the Stars’ bowling to all parts putting together a 50-run stand in just 22 balls.

It was a partnership that was threatening to take the match away from the visitors when in the 17th over, Billy Stanlake (1 for 41) bowled one full and wide. Ingram sliced it in the air over extra cover. Fletcher charged in, misread the flight of the ball and then adjusted as the ball began to tail away towards the boundary rope.

At the last minute, Fletcher dove to his right and snatched the ball inches off the ground before breaking out into a celebratory dance.

It was then 139 for 3, with the Hurricanes still in the hunt until Fletcher struck out in the field once more.

West Indies T20 opening batsman Andre Fletcher said he is excited about playing for Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League once his West Indies are completed.

Fletcher was a member of the West Indies T20 squad that lost three three-match series against New Zealand 2-0. He will replace England’s Jonny Bairstow, who is unavailable due to international duty.

"I'm really looking forward to coming over to the Melbourne Stars and being part of what should be an exciting season ahead," Fletcher said.

“Hopefully, I can bring my brand of batting and recent form to the Stars during the BBL."

Stars head coach David Hussey believes Fletcher’s talents will be an asset to the club.

"We're glad Andre was in a position to join us and he'll bring plenty of power and entertainment at the top of the batting order. Andre is a former T20 World Cup winner with the West Indies so he knows what it takes to succeed in major tournaments and I'm confident he'll be a great asset around our group," Hussey said.

Fletcher brings extensive experience to the Melbourne Stars having played in the Caribbean Premier League, the Bangladesh Premier League, and the Pakistan Super League.

He will join Nicholas Pooran who has also been signed with the club for the coming season.

After being lauded by Melbourne Stars Head Coach David Hussey, West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran says he eager to suit up for the team during this season of the Australia Big Bash League (BBL).

Josh Philippe's half-century lifted the Sydney Sixers to their second Big Bash League title with a 19-run win in a rain-affected final against Melbourne Stars, who finished as runners-up for the second successive season.

Heavy rainfall had threatened to wash out the game at the SCG on Saturday, but the conditions eased and there was enough time for a 12-over match in which the Sixers came out on top.

The hosts – champions in the inaugural 2011-12 campaign – were in trouble at 68-4 but Philippe smashed 52 off 29 balls to guide them to 116-5, Adam Zampa finally removing the opener with the final delivery of the innings.

Despite possessing explosive batsmen Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell in their ranks, the Stars did not get firing until Nick Larkin and Nathan Coulter-Nile put on an unbroken 43-run stand for the seventh wicket.

However, spinners Nathan Lyon (2-19) and Steve O'Keefe (2-27) took two wickets apiece, while Josh Hazlewood and Ben Dwarshuis kept the run rate down as the Stars suffered a third final defeat.

 

A STRONG START

James Vince made just two off nine deliveries before picking out mid-on off Daniel Worrall, but Steve Smith (21) ensured the Sixers stayed on track after Maxwell put the Stars in.

Smith and Philippe took the fight to the Stars and the latter claimed four fours and three maximums to score his third fifty in four BBL games.

Although captain Moises Henriques fell for seven and Maxwell removed Daniel Hughes for a golden duck, Philippe established a 48-run stand with Jordan Silk (27 not out) to set what looked to be a par score.

 

HISTORY REPEATING?

When the teams met in the qualifier, the Sixers bowled the Stars out for the lowest score in their history – just 99.

There must have been a sense of deja vu when they slumped to 25-4 after 4.1 overs, with key batsmen Stoinis and Maxwell departing early.

Stoinis was the highest-scoring player in the BBL this year and plundered a record 147 when the teams first met this season, but he made just 10 before holing out to deep midwicket off Lyon and O'Keefe snared Maxwell lbw to leave the Stars in dire straits.

 

STARS BURNT OUT

Smith run out Peter Handscomb – off O'Keefe to leave the Stars 54-6.

Despite the impressive efforts of Larkin, who hit two fours and as many sixes in an unbeaten 38, and Coulter-Nile, the visitors were unable to come back from the early setbacks and fell to a resounding defeat.

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.

Marcus Stoinis has been rewarded for his eye-catching Big Bash League exploits after landing the Player of the Tournament award.

The Melbourne Stars all-rounder edged out Sydney Sixers paceman Tom Curran by two votes, with the winner decided by a ballot among the umpires at the end of the 56 regular season matches.

Stoinis' 26 votes put him three clear of third-placed Alex Hales, who will be in action when Sydney Thunder face the Stars in Thursday's BBL challenger clash. The Sixers await in the final.

"I'm honoured to have been voted as the 2019-20 KFC Big Bash League Player of the Tournament," said Australia international Stoinis.

"I love playing for Melbourne Stars. This team is special to me and I love having the opportunity to run out onto the field with them.

"We've got a big match against the Sydney Thunder on Thursday night and I hope to see our Team Green fans at the MCG to help get us over the line."

Stoinis went past 600 runs this season, becoming only the second player to do so in a single campaign.

He made history with his record-breaking knock of 147 not out against the Sixers in January, when he also shared a BBL all-time best 207-run opening stand with Hilton Cartwright.

The Stars finished as runners-up in 2019, losing in the final to Melbourne Renegades.

Sydney Sixers skittled Melbourne Stars for just 99 to punch their ticket to the Big Bash League final with a comprehensive 43-run win in Friday's Qualifier.

The Stars finished top of the table but suffered three straight defeats at the end of the regular season, while the Sixers – who will now get to host the final – won as many on the spin heading into the match.

It was a contest that followed the form book, with Steve O'Keefe (2-22), Sean Abbott (3-23) and Josh Hazlewood (2-14) impressing, while Nathan Lyon and Ben Dwarshuis each took a wicket.

Only three Stars batsmen made double figures at the MCG in a poor chase in reply to the Sixers' 142-7, which looked well under par with Josh Philippe's 34 the highest knock of a low-scoring affair.

The Stars, whose score represents their lowest in the BBL, have another chance to make the final and will meet the winners of Saturday's match between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder.

 

STARS INITIALLY STEM SIXERS

What will disappoint the hosts the most is how they failed to build on an excellent showing in the field.

Philippe found the boundary four times before being caught-and-bowled by Haris Rauf an over after opening partner James Vince (12) fell to the impressive Adam Zampa (3-21).

Moises Henriques and Steve Smith put on 40 for the third wicket before the latter was given caught behind off Zampa despite believing he had not hit the ball.

From there the Sixers failed to build any partnerships of note. It meant a huge effort would be needed with the ball…

 

MELBOURNE LEFT SEEING STARS

Things started badly for Melbourne with Marcus Stoinis (5), Nick Larkin (4) and Peter Handscomb (4) falling inside five overs.

It did not get any better for the home side as Nic Maddinson (16) top-edged to short third man and the gleeful hands of O'Keefe, who quickly came to the fore.

O'Keefe first forced Seb Gotch to drag on before snaring the huge wicket of Glenn Maxwell (16), who was too straight with his attempt to clear long-off. 

The wickets then fell with regularity and Daniel Worrall and Rauf fell off consecutive deliveries from Abbott to wrap up the win with 12 balls to spare.

Brisbane Heat kept their hopes of a place in the Big Bash League playoffs very much alive with a dominant win over leaders Melbourne Stars.

The Heat started the day on 10 points with two games to play but vaulted into the top five with a 71-run victory clinched with 14 balls to spare at the MCG.

AB de Villiers laid the platform for the Heat with a searing 71 off just 37 balls, helping Brisbane to 186-5.

The table-topping Stars promptly collapsed in response, spinners Mitchell Swepson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman doing the damage for Brisbane as Melbourne were bowled out for 115.

 

DEVASTATING DE VILLIERS

Veteran De Villiers had not scored a half-century in the BBL going into Saturday's contest, but he changed that fact in emphatic fashion.

The South African cleared the rope six times, with two of his sixes coming in an expensive Clint Hinchcliffe over.

De Villiers' primary support came from Australia international Marnus Labuschagne, who finished unbeaten on a 13-ball 24, the pair combining for a fifth-wicket stand of 70.

 

STARS PUT IN A SPIN

Marcus Stoinis (17) got the Stars' chase off to a strong start but it proved the first of two false dawns for the Stars, who lost Stoinis and Seb Gotch to James Pattinson in the fourth over.

Peter Handscomb (27) and Nick Larkin (22) appeared to have mounted a recovery with a stand of 36, only for the former to be run out chasing two as Mujeeb and De Villiers combined in the field.

Danger man Glenn Maxwell (1) followed three balls later as he was bowled by Swepson, who struck again to remove Nic Maddinson (9) and then Larkin after Nathan Coulter-Nile had fallen to Mujeeb for a duck.

That left the Stars on 92-7 and the tail never looked like mounting a remarkable recovery.

 

A TIGHT FINISH

In the fight for the final two playoff places, the Heat join the Scorchers on 12 points and would qualify as it stands, with Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder each a point back with a game to play.

Perth face the Thunder in their finale, while the Hurricanes visit Adelaide Strikers and the Heat face bottom side Melbourne Renegades.

The fight for the top five is going down to the wire.

Adelaide Strikers boosted their hopes of a top-two finish in the Big Bash League by recording an 11-run victory over runaway leaders Melbourne Stars.

Jono Wells was instrumental to the Strikers' 162-4, sharing in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 71 with Matthew Short, before the duo of Peter Siddle and Rashid Khan frustrated the Stars' batsmen with the ball.

The win saw Adelaide move above Sydney Sixers in the table, both sides on 15 points, five behind the Stars.

Wells' knock gave the home side's innings much-needed impetus after Phil Salt, Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey all got starts without going beyond 40.

The Tasmanian hit two sixes and four fours in a 36-ball 55 which, alongside Short's 23, gave the Adelaide bowlers something to work with.

Michael Neser and Siddle immediately applied the pressure, with the latter also claiming the prize wicket of BBL top run-scorer Marcus Stoinis (5) after he mistimed a drive towards long-on and was snaffled by Salt.

And the Stars were put further on the back foot when Rashid bowled the dangerous Nic Maddinson with his second ball.

Wes Agar accounted for Nick Larkin and Glenn Maxwell and Neser snared Seb Gotch, with Adelaide always seemingly in control.

However, Peter Handscomb (65 not out) helped the Stars reach the final over requiring 22 to complete a remarkable win.

Home skipper Travis Head turned to veteran Siddle and he saw the Strikers home with two wickets as Melbourne were restricted to 151-8.

 

Handy Hinchliffe 

Clint Hinchliffe's left-arm spin had only reaped five wickets in the BBL this season but he was the Stars' best bowler while the more established Daniel Worrall and Adam Zampa struggled.

Hinchliffe took 3-19, including a sharp caught and bowled to remove Weatherald, to keep the Strikers top order from cutting loose.


Head Boy ends the 'Big Show'

Melbourne's best chance of chasing down the Adelaide total rested on the shoulders of Maxwell. 

But the 'Big Show' failed to wow the crowds as he holed out to Head off the bowling of Agar for 19.


Super Siddle shows he's still got it

The pressure was on Siddle at the beginning and end of the Melbourne innings and he delivered both times, finishing with figures of 4-33 from his four overs.

The former Australia international cleverly varied his length and pace and proved far too wily for the Stars line-up.

Melbourne Stars saw their eight-match winning run halted by Sydney Sixers in a rain-affected 21-run Big Bash League reverse on Monday.

The Stars are top of the standings after a stunning streak but were dealt just their second defeat of the tournament in a 14-over-a-side contest.

A heavy downpour provided an early disruption, but the Sixers kicked on from there, with Moises Henriques supplying a rapid 72 off just 31.

Sydney's total of 143-4 - adjusted to a target of 147 by the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method - proved beyond Melbourne's reach, Marcus Stoinis' attempted rally - 62 off 37 - proving to be in vain.


RAIN PROMPTS IMPROVEMENT

The Sixers made an unimpressive start with just 16 off the first 19 balls, but rain quickly came teeming down to bring about a reduction in overs.

The batting side were not initially any better following the restart, losing Daniel Hughes (14) and Josh Philippe (10) to Sandeep Lamichhane in the space of three balls in the fifth over.

However, a James Vince (41 not out) partnership with Henriques propelled Sydney in some style, the two combining for a partnership of 114 that included eight maximums from the skipper.


SYDNEY STALL SLIGHTLY

The Sixers' total might still have been more impressive had Henriques and Tom Curran not each departed in the final over.

The prolific Stoinis and Hilton Cartwright started to knock the ball around in the Stars' third over, scoring 22 with a four and a six apiece.

Cartwright went with the next ball, and the scoring slowed with Nathan Lyon initially economical, but Stoinis remained in the middle.


LYON GETS HIS MAN

Requiring 54 from the final three overs, it appeared Stoinis was determined to maintain Melbourne's outstanding run single-handedly.

He hit 16 off the next three balls from Lyon, only to then hole out to Henriques, giving the Stars a mountain to climb.

Curran took the wickets of Nick Larkin and Glenn Maxwell (12) with consecutive balls in the final over, and Sydney were ultimately comfortable.

The Melbourne Stars extended their winning streak to eight matches in the Big Bash League with a 10-run victory over the Perth Scorchers on Saturday.

Hilton Cartwright (58 not out off 56 balls) guided the table-topping Stars to 141-6 from their 20 overs at the MCG.

That appeared a below-par total despite a slow pitch, but Perth struggled as Nic Maddinson (3-24) helped the Stars to a 10th win in 11 games.

The Scorchers finished on 131-9 as their chase fell apart in the second half of their innings, the loss a blow to their play-off chances.

 

CARTWRIGHT IN CONTROL FOR STARS

On a slow wicket, Cartwright ended up playing the key role for the Stars with the bat.

The opener's innings included seven fours, although it looked like his side were at least 20 runs short after electing to bat first.

The Stars were 34-3 in the eighth over when Maddinson fell, but Cartwright's ability to see out the innings after Marcus Stoinis (6) went cheaply proved crucial.

 

MARSH RUN-OUT COSTLY

Perth appeared in control in their chase, reaching 62-2 off nine overs and needing 80 off the final 11.

However, Mitchell Marsh (11) was run out to begin the 10th over and the Scorchers' middle and lower order failed.

MARVELLOUS MADDINSON

Glenn Maxwell's decision to bowl Maddinson late in the Perth innings looked a risky one, but it paid off spectacularly.

Cameron Bancroft (32) was the key man for the Scorchers, but was removed by Maddinson.

The right-hander produced a powerful drive from a low full toss, only for Maddinson to take an incredible return catch.

Maddinson also had Tim David (11) and Matthew Kelly (5) stumped as the Scorchers capitulated late in their chase.

Big Bash League leaders Melbourne Stars romped to the most comfortable of eight-wicket victories over Perth Scorchers to win their seventh straight game.

The Stars have won nine of their 10 matches in this season's competition and sit in a commanding position after Wednesday's straightforward triumph in Perth.

Hosts the Scorchers won the toss and batted first having come into the contest on a three-game winning streak but tumbled to a shambolic 86 all out in only 13.5 overs.

And the Stars encountered few problems in reaching their moderate target, winning with eight overs to spare as the in-form Marcus Stoinis (39 not out) got them home at a canter.

INGLIS GOOD, TEAM-MATES TERRIBLE

Josh Inglis scored 37 runs off 19 balls with two maximums to give Scorchers a swift start but Cameron Bancroft (10) was the only other player to reach double figures.

Perth were moving along nicely at 39-1 after 23 deliveries, Liam Livingstone (4) the only man to have fallen courtesy of a wonderful Stoinis catch off the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nile.

But Cameron Green (4) was impressively run out by Haris Rauf (1-23) and Inglis' decent knock ended tamely when he picked out Nick Larkin at mid-off.

That reduced the Scorchers to 48-3 and it got worse from there, captain Mitchell Marsh (7) falling after a fine catch from Daniel Worrall off the bowling of Jackson Coleman, who lead the Stars with three wickets for just 16 runs on his first BBL outing this season.

Bancroft fell in another runout and Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (2-7) took wickets from consecutive deliveries to help clean up the tail.

STOINIS KEEPS UP MOMENTUM

Stoinis led a comfortable run chase for the Stars, three days on from his stunning record-breaking century against the Sydney Sixers.

Marsh (1-25) held a return catch to remove Hilton Cartwright and Ben Dunk fell to Fawad Ahmed (1-25) but by that point the leaders already had 56 on the board.

Stoinis, who passed 500 runs for the BBL campaign, hit six fours in a controlled 31-ball innings and sealed the victory with a flick behind square to the fence, with Seb Gotch the other unbeaten batsman on 14.

Defeat left the Scorchers fourth, one point clear of the Adelaide Strikers, who have a game in hand, and the Sydney Thunder.

Marcus Stoinis smashed a stunning record-breaking century as the Melbourne Stars earned a comprehensive 44-run win over the Sydney Sixers in Sunday's table-topping clash.

Perhaps irked by his duck in the Melbourne derby against the Renegades two days ago, Stoinis carried his bat in a wonderful unbeaten 147 – the highest score ever in the Big Bash League.

Stoinis' effort blew the previous best – a 122 not out from D'Arcy Short – out of the water and the Stars were close to going through their entire 20 overs without a losing a wicket.

However, Hilton Cartwright (59) holed out to deep midwicket from the first ball of the final over as the Stars reached 219-1, marking the third highest score in the competition's history.

Still, the duo's stand of 207 also represented a record and, though the Sixers made a decent 175-7 in reply, in truth Stoinis' heroics meant the visitors were on a hiding to nothing at the MCG.

STOINIS PRODUCES 'I WAS THERE' PERFORMANCE

Stoinis' performance was so good that had you not seen it you might not have believed what was going on.

In total, there were eight sixes and 13 fours from 79 balls of utter excellence, Stoinis finishing in typically brilliant fashion with a hook over backward square leg off Sam Curran.

That came after a remarkable penultimate over in which Stoinis scored 24 runs off the luckless Ben Dwarshuis.

Cartwright provided a fine foil with three sixes and six fours off 40 deliveries, but the evening belonged to one man, with the MCG crowd offering a huge ovation to Stoinis.


SIXERS FAIL TO BUILD A PLATFORM

If there was any hope for the Sixers it may have come from the 2017 classic between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Melbourne Renegades, which coincidentally also took place on January 12.

On that occasion, the Hurricanes successfully chased 223, with that match providing the two highest totals in BBL history.

The Sixers needed everything to go their way, though, and, well, it just did not happen.

Moises Henriques (41) and Dwarshuis (42) made good scores but there were not enough substantial partnerships to trouble the Stars, for whom Clint Hinchcliffe finished with 3-20. 

Marcus Stoinis set a new Big Bash League record with a magnificent 147 not out for the Melbourne Stars against the Sydney Sixers on Sunday.

His innings spanned just 79 balls and surpassed the previous highest score in a BBL match, the unbeaten 122 that D'Arcy Short made for the Hobart Hurricanes against the Brisbane Heat in 2018.

The performance from Stoinis was staggering, with the Australia limited-overs international cracking 13 fours and eight sixes, including a maximum from the final ball of the innings at the MCG.

The Stars looked like going the distance without losing a wicket, but Hilton Cartwright holed out to Jordan Silk at deep midwicket from the first ball of the 20th over.

Cartwright had made 59 from 40 deliveries. The home side finished five balls later with 219-1, four runs short of the record team total in the competition which was set in 2017 by the Hurricanes against the Melbourne Renegades.

Stoinis left the field to a standing ovation, having made exactly 100 in boundaries alone, with the Sixers facing a tall order to chase down their target.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.