Hilfenhaus the unlikely hero as Stars edge nail-biter

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Ben Hilfenhaus proved his capabilities with both bat and ball as the Melbourne Stars narrowly prevailed in Tuesday's Big Bash League encounter against the Adelaide Strikers.

The Stars, last year's runners-up were wobbling badly in their chase of 153 at the MCG when Hilfenhaus walked to the crease, the score reading 107-6 in the 14th over.

Kevin Pietersen's run out on 32 appeared to have shifted the balance in the Strikers' favour, but his dismissal brought Hilfenhaus to the middle and the seamer struck three fours and a six in making an unbeaten 32 off 24 balls to guide his side to a two-wicket win with three deliveries to spare.

Earlier in the day, Hilfenhaus had played his part in a more familiar role - claiming 2-21 from three overs to help restrict the Strikers to 152-8.

No Stars bowler went for more than 7.50 runs an over, Scott Boland's 4-30 the pick as the visitors failed to build on the early momentum given to them by opener Ben Dunk, who top-scored with 35 from 25.

The Stars' victory elevates them one place in the table to third while the Strikers - who made the semi-finals last season - have lost four of their six outings.

 

AGONY FOR AGAR

The 18th over of the chase proved key for the Stars, with Hilfenhaus taking a liking to the right-arm seam of Wes Agar.

With 29 needed from 18, Hilfenhaus turned the game in the hosts' favour by taking 18 from Agar's six, bringing the required rate below a run a ball.

The first and third deliveries were crunched down the ground and through square leg respectively, with the final ball flat-batted back over the bowler's head for six over long off.

 

THE TWO KPs IN 'TAPEGATE' COMMOTION

Pietersen and Kieron Pollard are two of the more confrontational characters in world cricket, so it was little surprise to see the pair disagreeing midway through the Stars' chase.

Pollard was sporting some heavy tape on his right hand as he prepared to bowl, seemingly to protect bruising to the area.

Pietersen was unimpressed and asked him to remove it, although after consultation with the umpires, the big West Indian won the battle of the egos.