Morgan snatches it at the last for Thunder

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Eoin Morgan's thrilling late show kept the Sydney Thunder's Big Bash League defence alive, as he struck a six from the last ball of the match to finish unbeaten on 71 and secure a six-wicket victory over Melbourne Stars.

In his last game before departing for international duty, Morgan wrote himself into Thunder folklore on Wednesday by launching Ben Hilfenhaus back over his head for an enormous maximum when five runs were required from the final delivery.

Kevin Pietersen (60 off 37 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (34 off 22) shone with the bat for the Stars, guiding them to 166-8 on a slow pitch at Spotless Stadium as they looked to avenge last season's final defeat to the Thunder.

The ever-confident Pietersen had targeted 200 when speaking to commentators from the crease, but a late-innings slump eventually cost his side.

For the Thunder, who still face an uphill battle to retain their title despite finally winning a first game this season, the loss of England captain Morgan could be compounded by Andre Russell being ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after the West Indies all-rounder was carted from the field with a nasty-looking hamstring injury.

 

MORGAN'S LATE, LATE SHOW

The Thunder were behind the eight-ball throughout their chase, losing Aiden Blizzard and Shane Watson in the sixth over, bowled by Hilfenhaus.

Needing 81 runs from 42 balls for victory, big-hitting pair Morgan and Pat Cummins (22 not out) scored off all but six of them to chip away at the target.

A huge maximum from Morgan at the end of the 19th over left 16 runs needed from the final set of six and the 30-year-old's enormous blow at the last sealed a crazy comeback.

Morgan said: "I waited for him [Hilfenhaus] to bowl one in the slot. I thought we timed it pretty well, but Jesus we might have left it a bit late!

"Hopefully this is a good chance to start something."

SCREAMER DOES FOR KP

It needed something special to get rid of Pietersen as he was moving through the gears after passing 50.

Thunder captain Watson produced it, clinging onto a sharp caught-and-bowled chance with Pietersen sent to the sheds when he would have expected a boundary.

Pietersen did not field due to a groin strain, but the Stars reported that the 36-year-old should be fine.

CAN WE HAVE OUR BALL BACK?

Pietersen wasn't the only KP troubling the crowd from the middle ...

Kurtis Patterson welcomed Maxwell into the Stars attack by smashing him straight back over his head, to such an extent that the ball was lost behind the sightscreen and had to be replaced.