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Punter aims for Sixers

BENCHED for Australia, Mitchell Starc will obviously also miss out on bowling a four-over burst for the Sydney Sixers on Boxing Day as Ricky Ponting threatens to boot the defending champions out of finals contention in his SCG farewell.

Ponting, 38, hit 63 from 45 balls to lead Hobart Hurricanes to a 30-run win over Sydney Thunder on Sunday and is likely to play his final match at the SCG, where he is the all-time leading Test scorer with 1480 runs and six hundreds at an average of 67, on Wednesday.

The Sixers will be keen to spoil the former Test captain's last hurrah at the ground, having lost three games on the trot, and been told they cannot have Starc, a key figure in their Twenty20 Champions League triumph in South Africa. Starc has been rested from the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka.

''I don't like the system but that's what we've got to live with,'' Sixers general manager Stuart Clark said.

Clark was highly critical of Cricket Australia's practices in managing Test squad members and the T20 Big Bash League. He was particularly incredulous at the withdrawal of Usman Khawaja from a Thunder game in Sydney last week, after the batsman, picked in the Australian squad as injury cover for Michael Clarke, was instead sent to Brisbane to train.