Worrall the unsung hero for Stars

The right armer is making a difference at the Melbourne Stars

Dave Middleton

23 January 2016, 09:58 AM

Highlights: Stars snap semi-final losing streak

Daniel Worrall is enjoying a breakout summer and now having bowled the Melbourne Stars into their first ever KFC Big Bash League final, could be just the man to tame Usman Khawaja.

The Sydney Thunder opener is averaging a whopping 275 in BBL|05 – courtesy of two unbeaten tons and another fifty from three innings. 

It prompted the Stars international import Kevin Pietersen to suggest tongue-in-cheek that Cricket Australia should call up the batsman for today's ODI against India given his sublime form.

The Stars have first-hand knowledge of Khawaja's imperious form. 

The first of the left-hander's BBL|05 tons came against them at the MCG in a thrilling one-run victory back on December 20 in their season opener. 

WATCH: Khawaja light up the MCG for a century on the Thunder's past visit

Worrall wasn't even in the Stars 13-man squad for that match, well down the pecking order. But the success of bowlers John Hastings and Scott Boland – who both earned Australia call-ups – gifted him the opportunity he'd been craving.

"I've been waiting for my chance for the last couple of years," Worrall told cricket.com.au following his 3-25 in four overs.

"We all know – the guys that are the fringe players – that we have to come in and provide something.

"So we make sure we're preparing the way the rest of the guys are. So when the Aussie boys go away … the guys who come in they've got to do a job. That's what we're after." 

WATCH: Hilfenhaus wickets helped set up the Stars home semi-final

Vanquished Perth Scorchers captain Adam Voges said his bowlers' inability to exploit the conditions as well as the Stars had was the difference.

"I thought they (the Stars) summed the conditions up really well, the balls they rolled their fingers on seemed to stick in the wicket nicely and they worked that out pretty quickly," a disappointed Voges said after the back-to-back champions were bundled out in a seven-wicket defeat.

"They took early wickets and put us on the back foot early (and) they executed well at the back end."

It was Worrall who did that early damage, removing Marcus Harris with the fifth ball of the innings, and then having the dangerous Michael Carberry caught behind in the fifth over.

A perfectly executed yorker to knock over Andrew Tye for a second-ball duck in the final over was the icing on the cake. 

WATCH: Worrall rips through Scorchers

Three matches in BBL|05 have yielded Worrall seven wickets at an average of 12 with a respectable economy rate of seven. He's the Stars' third-leading wicket-taker, behind Adam Zampa and Ben Hilfenhaus who have 10 apiece, albeit in three times as many games.

The figures are a welcome turnaround for Worrall who's only involvement in BBL|04 was on the receiving end of a Darren Sammy assault – 29 runs coming from one over as Sammy went 6 6 4 6 4.

But, as Chris Lynn demonstrated when he destroyed Hilfenhaus at this venue last week, some batsmen are just too good for any bowling on their day. To his credit, that over now looks the aberration rather than the norm. 

Worrall's breakthrough summer has started with his red-ball form for the West End Redbacks in the Sheffield Shield. 

There, his numbers are just as impressive. In three first-class games this summer he has 16 wickets at 21.43. They're better numbers than fellow Redbacks quick Chadd Sayers who has earned himself a spot in the Australian Test squad for the Qantas Tour of New Zealand – although another South Australia quick in Joe Mennie is the competition's leading wicket taker with 24 scalps.

In the last Shield round before the Big Bash season, Worrall took a career-best 5-69 in 17 overs against Victoria, and followed it up with 3-44 from 21 in the second innings. It happened at the MCG, the venue for Sunday's BBL|05 finale.

"I just feel like I've got a couple of wickets for a change," Worrall said.

"It started with the four-day stuff and I've finally taken a couple of wickets in the Big Bash. It's been good so far."

It seems fair to say Worrall enjoys bowling at the MCG and is hoping the Stars will be able to use that home ground advantage when a new Big Bash champion is crowned on Sunday.

"We love playing at our ground and we know the ins and outs of it," Worrall added. "That will come into our thinking for Sunday, playing to our plans and playing high-percentage cricket."