Rauf hat-trick, Maxwell brilliance floor the Thunder
Pakistani import takes a hat-trick before the Stars skipper finishes the job against the Thunder at the MCG
8 January 2020, 10:32 PM AEST
The match in a tweet: Haris the hat-trick hero! Rauf's ripping performance and another batting masterclass from Glenn Maxwell sends the Stars back to the top #BBL09
The score: Sydney Thunder 5-145 (Gilkes 41, Rauf 3-23) lost to Melbourne Stars 4-148 (Maxwell 59no, Stoinis 50) by six wickets with 13 balls to spare
It’s not often you take a hat-trick and are forced to share the limelight, but that’s exactly what happened to Rashid Khan and Haris Rauf today.
Just hours after Rashid took a superb hat-trick for the Strikers in Adelaide, Rauf joined him with a hat-trick of his own – just the sixth in BBL history - that had the MCG rocking.
Having clocked one delivery at 151.3 km/h earlier in his spell, Rauf returned to bowl the final over of the innings and, with his second delivery, deceived Matt Gilkes with a slower ball and had him caught at fine leg.
Callum Ferguson was the next to go, another slower delivery doing the trick as the ball went via Ferguson’s backside onto his stumps.
But there was nothing slow about Rauf’s hat-trick ball; it beat Daniel Sams for pace and clattered into the batsman’s right thigh, sparking an enormous appeal, a raise of the finger from the umpire and an almighty roar from the 21,000-strong crowd.
And Rauf celebrated in typically jubilant fashion, setting off on a lap of the ground as his teammates converged and the strong crowd stood to their feet in appreciation.
After just four matches this season, Rauf sits second on the BBL wicket-taker’s list with 13 dismissals at an average of just 7.23. And just as impressively, he’s conceded just 5.87 runs an over.
Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell were the perfect combination in a tricky run chase for the Stars, the pair sharing a vital stand that secured another win for their side.
Stoinis was the steady hand, hitting one huge six but mostly playing within himself, finishing with 50 from 44 balls, his third consecutive half-century that moved him back to the top of the BBL run-scorer’s list.
Maxwell, on the other hand, was at his typically inventive best. The skipper blazed eight fours and one six straight down the ground, while he also picked the gaps expertly in the huge expanses of the MCG outfield.
He finished with 59 not out from 37 balls to continue his superb season and maintain his tournament strike rate that is well and truly over the 160 mark.
The Thunder camp was on the back foot before they even arrived at the MCG after the BBL was rocked by the news star spinner Chris Green had been banned for an illegal bowling action.
Green was cited during the Thunder’s loss to the Stars last week and underwent testing on his action in Brisbane on Sunday.
The results from the testing ruled that Green’s action is illegal and he has therefore been suspended from bowling for a period of 90 days in all Cricket Australia-run competitions, effectively ending his KFC BBL season.
The BKT Golden Cap
There was a mini game of Pass the Parcel at the MCG tonight as the BKT Golden Cap as the tournament’s leading run-scorer changed hands before returning to its original owner.
Stoinis had the cap on his head to start the match but had to hand it to Ferguson at the change of innings when the Thunder skipper continued his bright season with a crucial knock of 35 from 27 deliveries to move to the top of the list.
But Stoinis took it straight back, his third fifty in a row securing the win for his side and the Golden Cap on his head.
The Sixers displaced the Stars at the top of the standings with their win in Adelaide today, but the Melbourne side are back on top thanks to their Net Run Rate ahead of a match between the two at the MCG on Sunday.
Before that, the Stars will look to inflict more misery on the Renegades, who are without a win from seven games heading into their derby at Marvel Stadium on Friday.
The Thunder remain well and truly in the hunt for finals with three wins from eight games and next face a pivotal clash against the Hurricanes at the Sydney Showgrounds on Sunday.
Melbourne Stars XI: Marcus Stoinis, Nic Maddinson, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Peter Handsscomb, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Dan Worrall, Haris Rauf, Sandeep Lamichhane
Sydney Thunder XI: Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Callum Ferguson (c), Matthew Gilkes, Alex Ross, Chris Morris, Daniel Sams, Arjun Nair, Nathan McAndrew, Jono Cook, Chris Tremain