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Star-less Stars too good for Scorchers

By Chris Pike
27 January 2014 05:08PM EST

THE Melbourne Stars' line-up didn't live up to their name but it was still enough to remain unbeaten in the Big Bash League on Monday and deny the Perth Scorchers a home semi-final.

The Stars were without Cameron White, Clint McKay, James Faulkner, Jackson Bird, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Rob Quiney and James Muirhead but had others step up at the MCG in the final regular season BBL match of the 2013/14 campaign to beat the Scorchers comfortably by 20 runs.

The Stars were already guaranteed of finishing on top no matter the result and they will now host the Hobart Hurricanes in a semi-final next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Scorchers had to win to guarantee a home semi-final next Wednesday at the WACA Ground but they didn’t come through and now will take on the Sydney Sixers at the SCG instead.

Stand-in skipper Brad Hodge led the way with the bat for the Stars making 61 as his team posted 6-161 from their 20 overs and the Scorchers then never looked likely of getting close finishing up 20 runs short on 9-141.

Stars captain for the day Hodge won the toss and elected to bat first and the skipper decided to open up the innings himself.

Michael Beer came back into the Scorchers line-up and opened up with the ball and picked up two early wickets to show that he had been unlucky to have been left out for most of this BBL campaign especially after Pakistan's Yasir Arafat arrived.

English all-rounder Luke Wright didn’t come off this time falling for 13 and then Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez also fell for just four after only arriving off a plane on Sunday night to replace Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga in the Stars line-up.

David Hussey was then also run out for just six for the Stars but Hodge was playing the leading role for his team.

The introduction of Pat Cummins to the bowling attack helped Hodge really get the run-rate going when he was handed two short-wide deliveries that he had no trouble despatching for four.

West Australian Marcus Stoinis joined Hodge at the crease after Hussey was run out by Simon Katich, and the pair really got things moving for the Stars.

Stoinis ended up falling for 25 from 19 balls when trapped in front LBW off Adam Voges to end his 60-run partnership from just 37 balls with Hodge.

The Stars were 4-111 in the 14th over at that stage with Hodge falling just three balls later when caught by Brad Hogg off Alfonso Thomas.

That ended a terrific knock from Hodge of 61 from 43 balls with nine boundaries as he continues to stretch his lead as the highest ever Twenty20 run-scorer.

Alex Keath made just four but Peter Handscomb and John Hastings did well late for the Stars to get their total up to 6-161 from 20 overs with Handscomb finishing on 25 from 17 balls and Hastings 13 from 13.

Beer was the pick of the Scorchers bowlers with 2-27 from his four overs while Thomas bowled all his four overs to close out the innings and finished with 1-26.

The Scorchers then came out with the bat knowing they needed to score 162 to win and secure a home final, but their hero from their last outing Craig Simmons couldn’t back up his remarkable century falling for just two to swing bowler Daniel Worrall.

That got Perth off to a bad start and it never recovered even if the Stars bowling attack was hardly intimidating by reputation with the likes of Worrall, Scott Boland and Clive Rose the first three bowlers used.

The Scorchers took a gamble by moving the hard-hitting Mitch Marsh up to open the innings for the first time in his Twenty20 career, and it didn’t pay off with him making just 15 from 14 balls when Hastings got one to rise and hit him on the gloves for it to bob up to Wright who took the catch.

The Scorchers were then 2-29 in the sixth over and then 3-38 in the eighth when Sam Whiteman was disastrously run out for 17 after a terrible call from Voges.

Voges and captain Katich then came together and had plenty of work to do to put the Scorchers into a position where they could win the game.

They ended up combining for a solid 54-run partnership in 40 balls as well before Voges was out for 29 from as many balls.

The hard-hitting Ashton Turner then made just one and Cummins only seven as the Scorchers again slumped to 6-103 after 16 overs.

That left them needing 59 runs from the last 24 deliveries but with Katich there it still seemed a slim possibly but when he fell for 30 from 23 balls his team's hopes went with it.

Jason Behrendorff hit a quick-fire 26 late and Hogg hit a big six off the final ball, but the Scorchers finished their 20 overs on 9-141 to fall 20 runs short and miss out on a home final at the WACA Ground.

Hastings starred with the ball for the Stars with 3-20 from four overs while Worrall took 2-29, Boland 1-34 and Rose 1-25.

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