Melbourne Stars 183 for 5 (Clarke 101*, Meredith 2-38) beat Hobart Hurricanes 145 for 9 (Wade 35, Wood 3-25, Zampa 3-27, Coulter-Nile 2-24) by 38 runs
After being sent in, Englishman Clarke hit 101 not out from 66 balls to dominate Stars’ innings in batting-friendly conditions. Hurricanes were never in the chase in a poor season-opening loss, while Stars regrouped following their dramatic last ball defeat on Tuesday.
After the anguish of letting through byes on the final delivery against Thunder, wicketkeeper-batter Clarke bounced back and batted through the innings this time. Dropped on one by a diving Shadab Khan at short third, Clarke was unstoppable during the powerplay to get Stars off to a flyer.
But it didn’t matter as Clarke scored all around the wicket to continue his strong form from last season, where he was Stars’ most consistent batter before Covid-19 swept through the team to derail their campaign.
Dooley impresses as Hurricanes rely on spin
There was a lot of anticipation over the new era for Hurricanes, who are seeking an elusive title. Under new coach Jeff Vaughan and head of strategy Ricky Ponting, Hurricanes attempted to shake things up in their season-opener.
Hurricanes’ strength has traditionally been their pace attack, but Shadab and Dooley were used in the powerplay, where Stars raced to none for 46 after four overs.
In an encouraging note, Dooley – who has an action described as the bowling equivalent of a windmill – impressed amid an onslaught to finish with 1 for 27 from four overs, the wicket coming when he bowled Stoinis with a beautifully tossed-up delivery.
Stars’ bowling attack continues to impress
Stars’ bowling had been identified as their weak point in previous seasons, but their attack has started impressively against the high-voltage Thunder and Hurricanes.
Webster’s handy all-round performance continued with his nagging seamers conceding just 21 runs from four overs.
David moves up but can’t get going
It was a daunting chase but Hurricanes’ explosive batting order looked capable of giving it a crack. Unfortunately, they couldn’t fire at any stage and fell behind the required rate early.
On the 23rd ball of the match, representing his famous jersey number, the smattering of fans at the MCG gave a standing ovation to Shane Warne, who passed away earlier in the year.
As Stars’ inaugural captain, Warne’s marketing efforts and sheer magnetism helped mould the franchise into a drawcard, although they have generally underperformed through the years.
Warne’s considerable heft was important for the BBL’s credibility in the early years as Stars retired his No. 23 jersey amid a tribute match for him.
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