Stars outshine Canes to cruise into Final
Dan Worrall's four wickets and another brilliant innings from Glenn Maxwell lead the Melbourne Stars to a six-wicket victory
Louis Cameron at Blundstone Arena, Hobart
14 February 2019, 10:54 PM AEST
The score: Hobart Hurricanes 7-153 (McDermott 53, Worrall 4-23) lost to the Melbourne Stars 4-157 (Maxwell 43*, Qais Ahmad 3-22) by six wickets with seven balls remaining
The match in a tweet: Standout BBL|08 side toppled! Maxwell, Worrall star to put the men in green in the decider. Could the Stars' hoodoo finally be over?
#BBLFinal Sunday 2:45pm AEDT - The Stars will be there, but who'll join them? Bring on @RenegadesBBL v @SixersBBL tomorrow night in Melbourne! pic.twitter.com/BPm37xy8Io— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) February 14, 2019
The hero: The Stars always looked like the game was theirs after the Hurricanes slumped to 2-5 in the second over, but it took a clutch knock from Glenn Maxwell to seal the deal. It wasn't quite the fireworks he put on in his blitz against the Sixers last week at the MCG – rather it was a show of maturity from the skipper to be there at the end to see the underdogs home. Unselfishly demoting himself below Nic Maddinson, the dynamic right-hander timed his knock to perfection, hitting just four boundaries – and no sixes – as Seb Gotch hit the winning runs to see the Stars home with seven balls to spare.
The injury: In a huge blow for both the Hurricanes and fans of Australian cricket in general, George Bailey was forced from the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury. Bailey suffered the blow after diving to stop a ball on the boundary – while he succeeded in doing that, he had to seek medical treatment immediately and played no further part in the match.
The supporting cast: The Stars put a lot of faith in Dan Worrall before a ball had even been bowled by naming him as their sole frontline quick – ahead of former Test paceman Jackson Bird – and the swing king paid it back in spades. In just his fourth match of the tournament, Worrall delivered a devastating early burst with the fresh white Kookaburra, firstly removing in-form opener Matthew Wade with his very first ball, before clean bowling Caleb Jewell with an absolute peach. While he's made his name as a new-ball bowler, Worrall showed he can be equally effective at the death by returning to dismiss dangermen George Bailey – after a terrific over of wide yorkers – and then Simon Milenko to stifle the Hurricanes' final push. Worrall finished with superb figures of 4-23 – the best against the Hurricanes this season.
The consolation act: He was only a last-minute recruit but Qais Ahmad might have delivered the Hurricanes' most important bowling performance of the tournament. While it will be the wonder-ball that removed Marcus Stoinis (more on that below) that will be replayed endlessly, the Afghan's subtle deceptions of Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb were equally important. As Ricky Ponting correctly foreshadowed on commentary for Channel Seven, skipper Maxwell sent the left-handed Maddinson in after Stoinis' departure to target Ahmad's leg-spinners turning towards the short square boundary. On cue, Maddinson smeared him for two sixes to the short side of Blundstone Arena, but Ahmad held his nerve to have him caught, showing gumption beyond his 18 years. The wicket of Handscomb – lbw sweeping just as he was starting to look set – saw him finish with 3-33.
The rescue act: After the unfamiliar early trouble the Canes found themselves in, it took a clever partnership between George Bailey and rising star Ben McDermott to rescue BBL|08's dominant side. Coming together after D'Arcy Short was out off the penultimate ball of the powerplay, McDermott and Dunk went a staggering 47 balls without scoring a boundary yet still managed to keep the run rate ticking over at around seven. Bailey unleashed with a pair of sixes off Adam Zampa, as McDermott pushed on to post a vital half-century. But both exited right as a crescendo was looming and the hosts' 7-153 ultimately was never enough.
George Bailey goes BANG and BANG again to get Hurricanes motoring! #BBL08 | @Weet_Bix pic.twitter.com/H4SUHvj7vj— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 14, 2019
The curtailed openers: The Stars' brains trust would have undoubtedly discussed how to quell the threat of Matthew Wade and D'Arcy Short at length and they would have been delighted with negating their impact. The uber-consistent Wade was dismissed for just his fourth single-digit score in 15 innings in BBL08. While his partner-in-crime Short resuscitated the Hurricanes' innings with a pair of brave sixes, he also exited before the end of the powerplay – a scenario the Stars would gladly have accepted had it been offered to them before the game.
The ball: Pure magic from Qais Ahmed. Was this the ball of BBL08?
There's the spark for the Hurricanes! Super ball from Qais. Class reaction from Stoin #BBL08 pic.twitter.com/zJotVMBDCE— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) February 14, 2019
The next stop: For the sixth time in Big Bash history, the top-ranked side went down in the semi-final. This time it was the dominant Hobart Hurricanes, who had looked for all money the standout side only to fall at the penultimate hurdle. For the Stars, perennial finalists but never champions, they'll face either the winner of the Melbourne Renegades-Sydney Sixers semi on Sunday afternoon.
Hobart Hurricanes XI: Matthew Wade (c), D'Arcy Short, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, George Bailey, Simon Milenko, James Faulkner, Jofra Archer, Clive Rose, Qais Ahmad, Riley Meredith.
Melbourne Stars XI: Marcus Stoinis, Ben Dunk, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nic Maddinson, Dwayne Bravo, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Adam Zampa, Dan Worrall, Sandeep Lamichhane.