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Hurricanes shock Stars to reach BBL final

By Chris Pike
4 February 2014 10:55PM EST

TIM Paine and George Bailey have led the Hobart Hurricanes to a shock Big Bash League final appearance handing the Melbourne Stars a third successive semi-final defeat.

The Stars were the great underachievers of the first two BBL campaigns losing both in the semi finals but they have been even more dominant in the third version over the course of the 2013/14 summer.

The star-studded Melbourne line-up went through the Big Bash season undefeated and were the raging tournament favourites right throughout the campaign and indeed coming into Tuesday's semi-final clash at the MCG.

The Stars were also buoyed further with the return of Cameron White, Luke Wright, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hodge and Lasith Malinga for the semi finals as well.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes also got back skipper Bailey to help offset that incredible line-up from the Stars.

And from the moment the Hurricanes restricted the Stars to 4-45 in the ninth over, they were on top of the Stars despite 51 from Brad Hodge hoping the home team post 8-141 in the first 20 overs.

The Hurricanes, though, had no trouble whatsoever in the run chase with Paine making 65 from 52 balls and Bailey 32 from 26 as Hobart chased down the total with 3-142 with seven wickets and 11 deliveries remaining.

Hobart will now take part in Friday night's BBL final either against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG or the Perth Scorchers at the WACA Ground depending on the result of Wednesday's other semi.

White won the toss for the Stars and decided to bat first, but the much-vaunted Melbourne top-order didn’t come off on this occasion as signs of not handling the pressure of a final began to show again.

White was the first to fall for six when caught by Ben Laughlin off Shoaib Malik before Wade also added just eight from 10 balls before Dimitri Mascarenhas picked up when Malik took a good, but nervy catch after he had dropped three catches in the last two games for the Hurricanes.

The Stars were then 2-25 and 3-36 soon after with English all-rounder Wright out for 13 when trapped plumb LBW thanks to a terrific delivery from leg-spinner Boyce.

Suddenly the Stars were in desperate trouble at 4-45 with Maxwell also falling to Boyce, caught in the deep by Travis Birt, for just 12 but that brought two of the all-time best Twenty20 batsmen to the crease together for the home team.

Hodge and Hussey came together for the Stars in the ninth over with the score 4-45 but with 440 previous Twenty20 matches between them to their credit, they certainly backed themselves to get things back on track for a good total.

The experienced pair ended up combining for a 62-run partnership from just 45 balls before Hussey fell for 24 from 22 balls with four boundaries when caught behind by Ben Dunk off Boyce.

Hodge was still going, though, and he lasted until there were just 13 balls left in the innings making 51 from just 35 balls with his knock including four boundaries and two sixes before being bowled by Doug Bollinger.

The score was 6-122 when Hodge was out and even though the Stars only got 19 more runs off the last 13 balls, the 8-141 was at least a competitive total after early being 4-45 in the ninth over.

Boyce was the star with the ball for the Hurricanes claiming 3-11 from three overs while Laughlin took 2-33 from three, Mascarenhas 1-32 from four, Malik 1-5 from two and Bollinger 1-32 from four.

The Hurricanes have had the best opening partnership of the BBL with Dunk and Paine, and once again the pair got Hobart off to a perfect start in the moderate run chase.

Chasing just 142 to win, Dunk and Paine knew they didn’t have to go out too hard but a steady beginning could set things up perfectly and that's exactly what they provided.

Dunk and Paine combined for an opening stand of 51 in just 35 balls before Dunk became the first wicket to fall for 30 from 20 deliveries with three fours and a six.

The Hurricanes then pushed Pakistan all-rounder up the order to try and get something out of him with the bat for the first time really in this campaign, but he again didn’t come off making just three from eight balls before being caught in the deep by Wright off young leg-spinner James Muirhead.

While that was the good news for the Stars, it meant that Australia's Twenty20 captain Bailey joined Paine at the crease with the score 2-63 in the ninth over the pair got the Hurricanes to within 15 runs of victory.

Paine ended up making 65 from 52 balls with eight boundaries before being run out in the 17th over with the score 3-127.

There would be no faltering from the Hurricanes, though, with Birt coming in and hitting successive fours off Marcus Stoinis in the 18th over before Bailey brought up the winning runs the very next over.

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