A match-winning partnership between Erin Osborne and Mignon du Preez has led the Melbourne Stars to a thrilling win over the Hobart Hurricanes in the Rebel WBBL.
Needing 159 for victory, the Stars were in trouble after losing four early wickets but an outstanding 129-run stand between the skipper and the South African import saw the Stars seal a five-wicket win with one ball remaining.
Bowling first, the Stars struck three big early blows removing start India recruit Smriti Mandhana for naught before Erin Fazackerley (7) and Hayley Matthews (18) also departed without inflicting major damage.
It was left to England import Heather Knight, playing her first match in purple since WBBL|02, to anchor the Hurricanes’ innings.
She shared a 51-run stand with Corinne Hall (26 off 26) on her way to a half-century before upping the ante, powering nine fours and three maximums in her unbeaten 55-ball 82, to carry the Hurricanes to 6-158.
The Stars suffered a major loss early in their reply when Lizelle Lee was tied down and then brilliantly stumped by Georgia Redmayne for 2 (12), before Ange Reakes (15), Alana King (3) and Katie Mack followed in quick succession.
But Osborne and du Preez led the recovery for the Stars, Osborne’s half-century came from 34 deliveries and du Preez joined her soon after, reaching the milestone from just 31 balls.
Osborne fell for a 46-ball 67 with victory within sight, while du Preez finished unbeaten on 59 (38) as the Stars kept their winning record intact, consigning the Hurricanes to a second narrow defeat in as many matches.