Pietersen ends Stars' semi-final hoodoo


Kevin Pietersen ended Melbourne Stars' semi-final heartbreak in the Big Bash League as he booked their first final appearance with a half century against Perth Scorchers.

Prior to this edition of the competition, the Stars had lost in the last four every year - including three defeats to the Scorchers - but they finally made the 2016 showpiece thanks to Pietersen.

The former England batsman played fluently on his way to 62 from 36 balls, producing some unorthodox strokes and two big sixes as the Stars cruised to a seven-wicket win chasing 140 - setting up a final showdown with Sydney Thunder.

Defeat means double defending champions the Scorchers failed to reach the final for the first time in the competition's five-year history.

After a tight opening spell from the Scorchers the 69-run partnership between Pietersen and Marcus Stoinis (44) put Melbourne well on course for the final, with the former beginning his assault on the bowling attack.

As well as his two maximums Pietersen struck five boundaries as he reached his third-highest total of the competition, but he was unable to finish unbeaten as he was bowled trying to play a reverse shot.

He had done enough, though, and that enabled Peter Handscomb (15 not out) and captain David Hussey (7no) to guide the Stars home with 11 balls to spare.

Pietersen's heroics came on the back of a disciplined display with the ball by the Stars, their tight lines backed up by a superb effort in the field.

Led by Daniel Worrall (3-25) they restricted Perth to just 139-7, with only Adam Voges (52) and Michael Klinger (44) getting big runs.

The Scorchers' scoring was particularly hampered by the large MCG boundaries, Klinger and Cameron Bancroft (13no) hitting their only two maximums.