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Stars too good for Sixers at SCG

By Chris Pike
29 December 2013 10:49PM EST

THE Melbourne Stars remain unbeaten and continue to emerge as the Big Bash League favourites with a comfortable 77-run win over the Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Sunday night.

The Stars remain the only unbeaten side after two games in the third edition of the BBL making 5-200 while batting first at the SCG and then completely dominating with the ball restricting the Sixers to a paltry 9-123 to score a massive victory. 

The Stars have done nothing to suggest in their opening two games that they don't deserve to be tournament favourites with a team full of past, current or former international stars.

With English all-rounder Luke Wright, Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga along with Cameron White, Matthew Wade, David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Clint McKay and Jackson Bird have all played international cricket for Australia and remain in contention to do so.

Their side is then topped off with veteran Brad Hodge and with a strong batting line-up, good all-rounders and outstanding frontline bowlers, they look forward to a clash with the Sydney Thunder on New Year's Day to try and remain unbeaten.

The Stars batted first against the Sixers at the SCG and Englishman Wright continued on from his opening game performance with the bat against the Melbourne Renegades racing to 28 from 17 balls with five fours and a six.

His 37-run opening stand with captain White came to an end on 37 when he was stumped by Daniel Smith off Steve O'Keefe, and then White didn’t last much longer falling for just nine when bowled by Josh Hazlewood.

Hodge then came and went for a two-ball duck when caught behind off Hazlewood and the Stars at that stage were 3-46 with Wade and Hussey coming together.

And once they got set on a tough wicket to bat on they really started to get the scoreboard moving.

The Victorian pair ended up combining for what would prove to be match-winning 74-run partnership before Wade was bowled by Englishman Ravi Bopara for 36 from 25 balls with his knock including two fours and two sixes.

Maxwell then strode to the wicket and joined Hussey and the Stars pair put on another strong partnership worth 57 runs from just 28 balls with Maxwell the star making 37 from 18 balls with three boundaries and two sixes.

Faulkner then joined Hussey for the rest of the Stars' innings but it was Hussey who ensured they got to 200 ending up 50 not out from 41 deliveries with five fours.

The Stars' innings ended on 5-200 and it was a tough time for the Sixers bowlers.

Hazlewood was the undoubted pick of them with 3-20 from his four overs while O'Keefe finished with 1-27 from three, Bopara 1-34 from three, Brett Lee 0-37 from four, Josh Lalor 0-45 from four and Moises Henriques 0-29 from two.

It was always going to be a massive challenge for the Sixers with the bat but they got off to a fast start with English batsman Michael Lumb smashing three boundaries off Jackson Bird's first over.

Lumb and Nic Maddinson combined for an opening partnership of 49 to give the Sixers some momentum before Lumb fell for 29 when bowled by Bird. His knock took 19 balls and included four boundaries and a six.

Maddinson then joined Lumb back in the pavilion just four runs later for 18 when caught behind off Hastings.

It was a tough pitch to get set on and Englishman Bopara never got going, and struggled to get the ball off the centre wicket and was eventually put out of his misery when out for five off 10 balls.

Marcus North was then run out by his teammate Henriques two balls later for 23 and that was all but the end of the resistance from the home side.

Jordan Silk managed just two, Henriques 17, Smith six, O'Keefe nine and Lee a duck before Lalor remained not out on five and Hazlewood two at the end of the 20 overs as the Sixers finished on 9-123 to be 77 runs short of victory.

It was a strong showing from the Stars bowlers led by 3-26 from off-spinner Maxwell.

Bird took 1-29, Faulkner 1-20, Hastings 1-17, McKay 1-8 and Hussey 1-4 with Sri Lankan Malinga bowling just two overs for 15 after only just landing in Sydney from the United Arab Emirates following his country's limited-overs battles against Pakistan.


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