Ben Dunk insists he never lost self-belief despite his extended period of struggle.
The Melbourne Stars opener finally broke through for his first half-century since joining the club, making 62 from 47 balls in the loss to the Perth Scorchers at the MCG on Wednesday night.
It ended an extremely lean run for the former Australian Twenty20 batsman, who had scored just 176 runs across his first 15 games for the Stars, having signed a five-year deal with the club in 2017.
The two-time Big Bash League leading run-scorer said he hadn’t made significant changes to his game or preparation, with good net form finally bearing fruit in the middle.
“I felt like I batted really well here against the [Melbourne] Renegades, started really well up on the Gold Coast [against Sydney Thunder], I’ve been batting really nicely in the nets,” Dunk said.
“Unfortunately you don’t score any runs in the nets. It was nice to finally contribute. I was hoping it was contributing to a winning score, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”
Without international call-ups Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa, the Stars’ three-game winning streak was snapped as Andrew Tye (4-18), Cameron Bancroft (59 from 42 balls) and Ashton Turner (43 not out from 22) led the Scorchers to victory.
The Stars headed to Adelaide on Thursday for a meeting with the Strikers on Friday night, the Stars’ second of three matches without the ODI quartet.
The Stars have made one change to their 13-man squad, with paceman Lance Morris replacing spinner Tom O’Connell.
“We always knew that this was going to be a little tough period for us as a team,” Dunk said.
“We were really excited about the opportunity to get off to a good start without our absolute stars.”
The Strikers have regained Test batsman Travis Head while also including veteran paceman Ben Laughlin and gloveman Harry Nielsen.
Adelaide will be without ODI squad members Peter Siddle, Alex Carey and Billy Stanlake.
Gun leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been named in the Strikers' squad and is expected to play despite returning to Afghanistan in recent days following the death of his father.