Stars won by 77 runs
The long walk: Nic Maddison of the Sixers leaves the field after being dismissed during the Big Bash League loss to the Melbourne Stars at the SCG. Photo: Brett Hemmings
The stage was set for a bit of rock and roll cricket at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday night. A perfect December evening, a 20,000-plus crowd and the lower concourses of the renovated M.A. Noble and Don Bradman Stands open for the first time.
But instead of being a party for the Sydney Sixers, the Melbourne Stars turned their Big Bash clash into a lesson, cracking big score and then defending it in style to win by 77 runs, catapulting the team to the top of the league.
After Sixers captain Moises Henriques won the toss and opted to bowl, the Stars reached 200 for the second time in the competition, built around the steady hand of David Hussey and flashy contributions from Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell.
With the addition of Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga and Test aspirant James Faulkner to their bowling line up – joining John Hastings, Jackson Bird, Clint McKay and the tidy off spin of Maxwell – they had ample weaponry to defend it.
Sixers openers Michael Lumb and Nic Maddinson made a rapid start, putting on 49 at nearly nine per over. However, once Maddinson (29 off 19) followed Lumb (18 off 15) to the sheds to make it 2-53, the middle order was quickly weighed down.
Ravi Bopara made five from 10, Marcus North was run out for 23 and Jordan Silk was bowled by Maxwell for two.
The Sixers passed 100 in the 15th over, but bowling was tight and the wickets kept tumbling. Henriques was caught off Maxwell, Dan Smith went similarly and Steve O'Keefe was caught behind, as the Sixers' tilt ground to a halt. Brett Lee went for a duck, before the gig was up with the Sixers falling well short.
Earlier, the Stars' innings was built on two 50-run partnerships involving Hussey – one with Wade, who smacked 36 from 25 balls; the other with Maxwell, whose 37 came from just 18 balls. Hussey finished with 50 from 41 balls.
Luke Wright opened the innings with a blast, attacking Sixers opening bowlers Lee and Josh Hazlewood.
The Sixers hit back to take 3-9. Left-arm orthodox spinner O'Keefe trapped Wright, stumped for 28 from 17.