Melbourne Stars allrounder Glenn Maxwell has offered a withering assessment of his team's nine-wicket defeat to Brisbane Heat in the KFC BBL on Tuesday, declaring their performance "putrid".
Maxwell top-scored in what was otherwise a tough day for the Stars batting line-up, scoring 50 from 39 deliveries to help lift Melbourne to 7-141, a total which was run down by a rampant Brisbane Heat – courtesy of twin fifties from Bash Brothers Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn – in under 15 overs.
The crushing defeat left the Stars 0-3 and with their season on the line heading into Saturday's Melbourne Derby against the in-form Renegades.
"Mathematically we could still finish top," Maxwell said on Tuesday. "But the way we're going at the moment we're not looking like going anywhere but bottom because we're playing terrible cricket.
"We're not probably playing together as a team. We haven't even got close to putting together a full game, which is what you need to do in T20 cricket.
"We were putrid today."
Maxwell came in at 2-55 and played a lone hand for the Stars as wickets fell around him, but was made to toil in his first half-century of BBL|07, never looking completely comfortable at the crease.
He brought up a fighting fifty from 38 balls only to immediately hole out to long-on with 12 deliveries remaining in the innings.
"You can almost doubt yourself and I certainly felt that when I went out to bat," Maxwell said.
"It took me far too long to get going. I cost us plenty out there because I just couldn't hit the ball.
"It was frustrating and pretty embarrassing to tell you the truth, to spend that much time out in the middle and not even really contribute to the match.
"I'll probably take responsibility for that batting performance. Normally your rock has to at least look like he's hitting the ball well so that the non-striker feels comfortable while you're at the crease.
"That's not good enough, it's as simple as that."
Star import Kevin Pietersen echoed Maxwell's sentiments when mic'd up on Network Ten's broadcast.
"We've just got to be better," Pietersen said. "It's the bottom line, it's a non-negotiable.
"If you get a start, you've got to go on. I should have hit mine (for six when he was caught in the deep), Maxi played OK.
"(But) it's just not good enough. There is a long way to go and we've been 0-3 before. But we've got to play better."
Before Tuesday's result, the Stars had suffered a 15-run defeat to the Heat at the Gabba before a 13-run loss at the hands of the Scorchers in Perth on Boxing Day.
While the green team have yet to post a win in BBL|07, it's not an unfamiliar position for the club. They were in the same situation in BBL|04 and went on to make the semi-finals.
With each team playing an extra two regular season matches this year, the Stars are in an even better position to turn their tournament around.
"The first game we didn't bowl well enough and didn't field well enough, (the) second game we didn't bat with any brains whatsoever and this game it all fell apart," Maxwell said.
"We have to turn it around, otherwise it's going to unravel pretty quickly."