Sydney Thunder's man of the moment Usman Khawaja maintained the rage, and the run spree by guiding his team to a three wicket victory over the Melbourne Stars to win the Big Bash League final at the MCG.
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Sydney Thunder claim Big Bash title
Sydney Thunder defeated Melbourne Stars by three wickets to claim the fifth series of the Big Bash League.
It was a nail-biter, going down to the last over but the victory crowned a great season for the BBL's one-time battlers - their best finish before this summer was second-last, they came last in each of the three tournaments before that.
It was an emotional farewell to arms for the Thunder's retirement-bound captain Mike Hussey who has worked overtime to help turn the team's fortunes around.
With a winner's medal draped around his neck the 40-year-old reflected on his club's spectacular rise.
"It's been a great journey. We've been building something for the past few years so to reach the summit is something pretty special," he said.
When he marched to the crease Hussey was given a guard of honour by the Melbourne Stars team which was led by his brother David. When he was dismissed for 18 he received a standing ovation from the 47,672-strong crowd.
However, the victory was built on Khawaja's knock after he added a rapid fire 70 from 40 balls to the 109 not out, 62 and 104 not out he'd scored in his previous three innings.
He and opening partner Jacques Kallis toyed with the Stars attack during the power play by smashing 62 runs - 35 of which came off the 16 balls Khawaja faced.
The parochial Melbourne crowd were outraged when Evan Gulbis's leg before wicket appeal was turned down when Khawaja was on 37 but their reaction failed to ruffle him. He whittled away at the 177 needed for victory with his now familiar free-flowing, unhurried, elegant strokes.
Kallis was the perfect foil, keeping the scoreboard ticking over and keeping Khawaja on strike before he was troubled by a back problem.
The 29-year-old Khawaja scored his 50 off 26 deliveries but their powerful stand ended on 86 when Kallis, who appeared to have decided to hit out because of his injury, was caught for 28 off Adam Zampa's impressive leg-spin.
Shane Watson fell for 6, caught by David Hussey off Marcus Stoinis, and it brought the catcher's brother, Mike, out to bat for the last time in Australia. Amid the adrenaline he was afforded the guard of honour.
He brought himself on to bowl to his brother, but the part-timer captured the most prized wicket in Australian cricket - Khawaja when he was caught by Daniel Worrall.
With 54 required off 39 deliveries Andre Russell made his presence felt with a mighty hit that went for six when the fielder took it over the boundary.
Zampa denied Hussey the chance to hit the winning runs when he bowled him for 18. With 31 needed from 22 Russell was caught behind for 10.
It brought big-hitting Aiden Blizzard to the crease and as the pressure started to mount what should've been a single struck by him went for four.
It spurred him to go for broke hitting a four and then a six but his demise was spectacular when Michael Beer fielded the ball off his own bowling and threw the stumps down.
It brought Green to the middle and with 14 needed off 11 he struck a boundary; he hit two and scrambled through for another double while Zampa dived for a catch but he was dismissed, caught, two balls later.
Chris Hartley joined Ben Rohrer at the crease with four needed from the last over and it came down to a mighty six from Rohrer to secure the title.
Kevin Pietersen was as equally dominant for the Stars, with a brilliant 74 off 39 deliveries.
No-one in the Thunder's attack was spared: Fawad Ahmed was hit for two sixes; Watson was launched into the crowd; spin bowler Chris Green was blasted into orbit, as was Kallis.
It ended in a meek caught and bowled to Green.There seemed some confusion whether Pietersen was out because rather than dancing in delight the young tweaker appeared stunned to have captured the prized wicket.
He inflicted plenty of damage after the Thunder started brilliantly with Watson dismissing Marcus Stoinis for 5 with his second ball.
He then bowled dangerman Luke Wright for 23 in the seventh, however, the Stars reached 85 before Green dismissed Peter Handscomb for 9 and until Kallis dismissed Hussey with the score at 131, the Stars appeared poised for a monster score but Pietersen's demise stemmed the flow.
Triumphant Mike Hussey ended an emotional night by wishing his mother a happy birthday.