Kevin Pietersen and Marcus Stoinis found form with the bat and Adam Zampa shone with the ball as Melbourne Stars beat Sydney Thunder in their KFC BBL warm-up match in Albury on Tuesday night.
In front of a crowd at Lavington Sports Ground estimated to be close to 10,000, the Stars restricted the Thunder to a score of just 8-152 having posted 9-161 batting first.
Pietersen (34 from 19 balls) and Stoinis (32 from 22) led the way for the Stars, with Stoinis hitting one ball from Thunder spinner Arjun Nair out of the ground.
Allrounder Evan Gulbis (34 from 20) then added the late polish to the innings and the Stars' total proved to be more than enough, especially after the Thunder lost two wickets inside their first three overs.
The Thunder innings was highlighted by an extraordinary one-handed catch from Seb Gotch at first slip from the second ball of the innings. Gotch, normally a wicketkeeper for Victoria, dived low and to his right to remove Kurtis Patterson for a duck and give the Stars a perfect start to the run chase.
Having elected to bat first, the Stars lost Gotch and Ben Dunk early on before Pietersen joined Glenn Maxwell in an entertaining, albeit brief, partnership that thrilled the massive crowd.
The pair combined to hit Nair for 21 from his first over, with each batsman scoring one four and a massive six down the ground.
But just as local hopes were raised that the enigmatic duo would put on a show, Maxwell was run out when Thunder wicketkeeper Jay Lenton produced a brilliant direct hit after the Stars batsman had been turned back attempting a risky single.
Stoinis then took up the attack before his innings was ended when Nair reeled in a brilliant one-handed catch on the second attempt.
Leg-spinner Zampa made the early inroads with the ball for the Stars, removing Lenton for 1 and Shane Watson for 27 after Gotch's outstanding catch had secured the early breakthrough.
Zampa finished with 2-17 from his four overs before his bowling teammates kept things tight to leave the Thunder with too much to do in the latter overs.
Thunder batsman Callum Ferguson top scored with 30 from 27 balls before he retired hurt with a quad injury, with the Thunder confirming the right-hander will be assessed on Wednesday morning.
The Stars will play another warm-up game against Hobart Hurricanes on Friday while the Thunder will open BBL|07 next Tuesday against the Sixers in Sydney.
Melbourne Stars XI: John Hastings (c), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa
Sydney Thunder XI: Shane Watson, Fawad Ahmed, Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Jay Lenton, Clint McKay, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu