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Stars annihilate Strikers at MCG

By Chris Pike
9 January 2014 10:05PM EST

THE Melbourne Stars remain unbeaten in the Big Bash League with the most emphatic hammering possible against the Adelaide Strikers at the MCG on Wednesday night.

The BBL's only unbeaten team reinforced their tags as favourites to take out the Twenty20 competition for the first time with an eight-wicket hammering with 75 balls remaining over a Strikers team that could still end up making the tournament finals despite the horror performance.

Adelaide batted first and through the whole 20 overs the pitch by the Strikers' batsmen and Stars' bowlers was made to look like it was near impossible to score quickly off, and to get away big shots.

The Strikers ended up making just 9-90 from 20 overs in what was the third lowest BBL score ever, but immediately once Cameron White and Luke Wright strode to the wicket for the Stars, it was clear there was nothing wrong with the wicket.

Shaun Tait and Gary Putland helped with their bowling, but the Stars needed just 7.3 overs to reach 2-91 to record the massive win set up by 49 from Wright and an unbeaten 25 from Glenn Maxwell.

Phil Hughes was again captain for the Strikers with Johan Botha out for his second match with a fractured thumb, and he won the toss at the MCG and decided to bat first.

Alex Hales is a destructive opening batsman but couldn’t get going for the Strikers out in the third over for just five.

Tim Ludeman came in at No. 3 and also couldn’t get going making just six from 11 balls before becoming James Faulkner's first of three scalps for the night.

That sparked a horror collapse for the Strikers with Hughes out for a first ball duck to put Faulkner on a hat-trick with Nathan Reardon then bowled by a beauty of an in-swinging full back from Lasith Malinga for just one.

Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan made just two in his second BBL game for the Strikers with Michael Neser only managing four.

That meant that the Strikers lost 5-20 in the space seven overs to be in desperate trouble at 6-57.

Veteran opener Michael Klinger tried to do his best to at least get the Strikers to a somewhat decent total, but he then fell for 42 from 49 balls with three fours and a six in the 18th over with the score 7-81.

Kane Richardson made 21 late in the innings for Adelaide from 24 balls but still the Strikers only managed 9-90 from 20 overs in the third lowest Big Bash score.

The Stars were brilliant with the ball with Faulkner leading the way taking 3-9 from four overs.

Sri Lankan Malinga also had his best night of the tournament taking 2-8 from four overs with Jackson Bird finishing with 1-29 from four, Wright 1-11 from two, young leg-spinner James Muirhead 1-11 from two and Jon Hastings 0-18 from four.

The pitch looked hard to score off and good for the seam bowlers during the Strikers' innings, so that meant that if Tait, Putland, Richardson and Michael Neser could bowl well, they might be able to at least make the Stars batsmen work hard for the 91 needed to win.

That didn’t happen, though, with Tait and Putland bowling far too short early on and providing too many easy avenues to score off, and Wright in particular took full advantage.

Once Putland went for 13 from the second over of the innings, the Stars had all the momentum and Wright went on to smash 49 from 20 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes in a blistering knock that even including being collected in the helmet from a Tait short ball.

It was only the sixth over when he fell with the score 1-62 and even though his opening partner White also fell for 13 the very next ball to put Neser on a hat-trick, the Stars did it easy.

Maxwell came out and had some fun hitting the Stars to their fifth straight win of the season finishing with 25 from just 10 balls with four boundaries and a six off the final ball from Neser that went right over the wicket-keeper's head to land in front of the sight screen over the rope.

Neser was the Strikers' only wicket-taker with 2-21 from 1.3 overs with Tait finishing with 0-33 from three, Putland 0-13 from one, Richardson 0-13 from one and Al Hasan 0-10 from one.

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