Twitter Reactions: Stoinis-Larkin duo steers Melbourne Stars to their third BBL final

Twitter Reactions: Stoinis-Larkin duo steers Melbourne Stars to their third BBL final

Harris Rauf turned out to be the best bowler for Stars, who registered brilliant bowling figures of 3/16.

Haris Rauf
Haris Rauf. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Melbourne Stars came face to face against Sydney Thunder in the Challenger game of Big Bash League 2019-20. It was a do or die game for both the sides in order to qualify for finals. In the high-voltage game, Stars emerged triumphant after defeating Thunder by 28 runs on the back of some astonishing performance by their openers.

Earlier, Melbourne Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell won the toss and opted to bat. However, the decision didn’t go well at Stars lost their opener Nic Maddinson on 38 runs. He could only score run-a-ball before getting dismissed off Chris Morris.

Maddinson went for a big six against short-pitched delivery but ended up giving sitter to Daniel Sams at deep square leg. On the very next delivery, the right-handed pacer nearly got the wicket of Marcus Stoinis but wicketkeeper Jay Lenton dropped a simple catch behind the stumps.

It could have been a cherry on the cake for Thunders but that didn’t happen. Later on, the bowling side had to heavily pay for their keeper’s mistake as Stoinis played a blistering knock of 83 runs off 54 balls studded with seven boundaries and three sixes. He was using his willow like a magic wand and was smoking runs at a blistering strike rate. From the other end, he was assisted by Nick Larkin, who registered his highest individual BBL score of 83* runs and also marked the second fifty of his BBL career.

The duo stitched a brilliant partnership of 120 before it was broken by Morris in the 17th over of the innings. But, until then, Stars had already taken a big lead in the game. In the end, the hosts managed to score a total of 194 runs at the loss of two wickets, courtesy Stoinis and Larkin’s knocks.

Sydney Thunder stumble in the high voltage game

Coming onto the chase, Thunder got off to a poor start as their in-form opener Alex Hales got run out in third over. The right-hander played the ball off Daniel Worral to mid-on and ran for a single. Meanwhile, Nathan Coulter Nile quickly gathered the ball and darted a direct throw at the bowler’s end. A quick one from Coulter-Nile forced Hales to get back into the pavilion as he was left well short of his crease while stealing a single.

After a brilliant fielding display, Coulter-Nile castled Usman Khawaja in the fourth over of the innings. Soon, Harris Rauf also helped his team in getting a big breakthrough, who dismissed Thunder’s skipper Callum Ferguson in the next over. Until the fifth over, Thunder’s top-order was already sent back to the dugout that left them struggling at a score of 41 runs for a loss of three wickets.

Later on, all the hopes came down to Alex Ross, who looked in good touch with the bat. He played a swift knock of 58 runs off 38 balls with the help of three boundaries and as many sixes. The right-hander built a partnership of 58 runs with Arjun Nair (30 off 17 balls).

However, Stars spinner Adam Zampa shattered all hopes of Thunder fans as he dismissed Ross in the 17th over of the innings. In his next over, the Aussie international hammered the last nail at Thunder’s hopes of getting in the final by dismissing Nair.

After the debacle of the Thunder’s top-order, there was a lot left for the tailenders to do in the end due to which the visitor’s had to suffer a defeat by 28 runs. They could only score 166 runs in stipulated 20 overs against Melbourne Stars. Nick Larkin was awarded Man of the Match for his unbeaten knock of 83 runs. Harris Rauf also turned out to be the best bowler for Stars, who registered brilliant bowling figures of 3/16.

This victory also helped Stars for qualifying into the BBL final for the third time in their history.

Here is how Twitter reacted: