Hobart Hurricanes have made the BBL¦03 Final after beating Luke Wright’s Melbourne Stars by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A superb team performance by the underdogs restricted the Stars to just 141-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat with the Hurricanes chasing down their target with 11 balls remaining.
England’s T20 specialist Luke Wright didn’t get going for the hosts in the opening overs as the Hurricanes exerted the pressure right from the off. The Sussex man opened the batting with skipper Cameron White but the partnership only reached 14 before the Australian was caught by Ben Laughlin off the bowling of Shoaib Malik for six.
The opener was joined by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, fresh from being part of the national side that defeated England 3-0 in the recent T20 internationals but neither could increase the scoring rate as they were both dismissed within eight balls of each other.
Wade departed for eight before Wright was out lbw to spinner Cameron Boyce to leave the hosts stuttering on 36-6 off 6.4 overs.
That brought experienced batsman Brad Hodge to the crease and he top scored with an innings saving 51 which included two maximums. ‘The Big Show’ Glenn Maxwell didn’t hang around with him though as he was soon out for 12 before David Hussey entered the crease and formed a partnership of 62.
That took the Stars up to 107-5 when Hussey was caught by the Player of the Tournament Ben Dunk to give Boyce his third wicket of the match with Hodge following shortly after with a quick fire 51 off 35 balls. The lower order then managed to carry on the momentum and reach 141-8 at the MCG which turned out to be a competitive score.
The Hurricanes assistant coach Dimitri Mascarenhas was worth a mention as he dismissed Wade and opened the bowling in his role as an all-rounder as well as assistant coach.
The Hurricanes got off to a superb start though and passed 50 inside the powerplay for the loss of only a single wicket. That dismissal was that of Dunk for a well-made 30 off 20 balls and often happens in any form of cricket, one wicket brought two with Malik out for three with Wright taking his second catch of the innings.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine continued to pile on the runs with his new partner, captain George Bailey and the pair formed the highest partnership of the match with a well-made 64 to almost take the underdogs over the victory line.
That feat was left to Travis Birt and Bailey to steer Hobart home with Bailey cutting the ball for a single to take them into Friday’s final against either Sydney Sixers or Perth Scorchers with the opponents decided in tomorrows semi-final.
Ravi Bopara will line up for the Sixers and he will be hoping to go head-to-head against fellow Englishman Mascarenhas in a winner takes all finale.