Stars shine over Heat

ROB QUINEY and Shane Warne led the Melbourne Stars to an eight-run Twenty20 Big Bash League win over the Brisbane Heat on Tuesday night.

Quiney blasted 97 from 60 balls at the ‘Gabba and received good support from David Hussey (45) as Melbourne posted a formidable 7-177 from 20 overs.

Brisbane were competitive in the early stages of their run-chase but at 2-85, a piece of Warne (1-22) magic undid Brendon McCullum (36) and triggered a collapse that saw Brisbane lose five wickets for just 29 runs.

Michael Neser (27 no) and Ryan Harris (25 no) kept the Heat in the match right until the dying stages but the hosts slumped to their second successive loss, disappointing a terrific crowd of 29,241 fans.

McCullum and veteran Matthew Hayden (22) needed to make a positive start to their chase and they achieved just that, scoring 39 from the first three overs.

Hayden looked in supreme touch as he belted four early boundaries, with English paceman Jade Dernbach (1-44) going for 21 runs in one single over.

Both Brisbane openers were dropped soon after – with McCullum exceptionally lucky to get a reprieve after Dernbach dropped the simpliest of catches out in the field – but Melbourne soon had their first wicket.

Hayden’s innings ended when he spooned a catch to Luke Wright off the bowling of Clint McKay (3-22) and he got rid of Chris Lynn (13) in his next over.

But with the aggressive McCullum at the wicket, Brisbane were always a threat, with only a piece of Warne brilliance removing the Kiwi opener.

The 42-year-old lured McCullum out of his crease, landed the ball outside leg stump and took advantage of the Brisbane opener with a stunning piece of leg-spin that bowled the batsman around his legs and into off-stump.

Warne bowled a brilliant four-over spell and showed he clearly still has the ability that saw him take 708 Test wickets for Australia.

In the absence of the injured James Hopes, batsman Peter Forrest (12) captained the Heat, while Dan Christian (18), Andrew Robinson (1) and Nick Buchanan (2) all fell shortly after and the Heat looked no chance.

The valiant efforts of Neser and Harris did keep them in the game though as they gave the Stars a real scare until the last over.

Earlier, Quiney got the Stars going with a breathtaking display of batting.

Despite Nathan Hauritz (3-18) claiming the early wickets of Matthew Wade (5) and George Bailey (10), Quiney kept attacking and chose his moments wisely.

Hussey (45) joined him at the crease for a 105-run partnership in less than 10 overs as the Stars lifted their scoring rate noticeably.

The likes of Christian (1-42 from four overs) and Neser (0-39 from three overs) came in for plenty of punishment as Melbourne threatened to score 200.

Quiney was lucky that two skied hits fell short of fieldsmen but Melbourne’s luck ran out when Buchanan juggled a catch at the second attempt off the bowling of Christian that saw Hussey dismissed.

Cameron White (2), Adam Voges (13) were dismissed in the hunt for late runs while Quiney’s innings ended in heartbreaking fashion with two balls remaining as he clubbed a Harris (1-31) full toss to Christian who took a smart catch just in from the boundary.

James Faulkner (0) was run out off the last ball of the innings as Brisbane finished well but ultimately Melbourne’s score proved  too good.

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