A fantastic 99 from Marcus Stoinis proved in vain as Melbourne Stars begun their Big Bash League campaign with a 15-run loss to Brisbane Heat at the Gabba.
The Stars' two marquee batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and Glenn Maxwell, each failed to fire on Wednesday, making 10 and eight respectively after the hosts had set a daunting target of 207.
Brisbane looked set to triumph with ease when they reduced their opponents to 53-4 inside seven overs, but Stoinis kept his side's slim hopes alive by thumping six fours and six maximums as he dominated a fifth-wicket stand of 137 with James Faulkner (47 not out).
Stoinis' outstanding 51-ball innings eventually came to a disappointing end in the final over of the match, which began with the Stars requiring an unlikely 24 to win.
After being dropped from the third ball of the over and running two to reach 98, Stoinis was again put down in the deep off Mark Steketee, only to then be run out as he came back in search of a second.
The Heat were missing the destructive Chris Lynn due to a hamstring complaint, but still looked full of firepower as they amassed 206-7 after being inserted.
Brendon McCullum thumped 40 from 22 balls at the top of the order, while there were quickfire fifties for Joe Burns (50 off 28) and Alex Ross (51 off 36) before Ben Cutting (35 off 18) provided further impetus in the closing overs.
Just love the @BBL. 2 Top games already. We need a T20 comp like this in England!!!!-- Ian Bell (@Ian_Bell) December 20, 2017
DREAM DEBUT WICKET FOR DOGGETT
Brendan Doggett wasted little time in making an impression for the Heat on his Twenty20 debut.
The 23-year-old seamer saw his second delivery thumped for six by Pietersen, but gained swift revenge by having the former England batsman caught at mid-off by McCullum next ball.
BUT HASTINGS AND BOLAND ENDURE NIGHTMARE SHOWINGS
John Hastings and Scott Boland came in for the heaviest punishment as the likes of McCullum and Burns teed off.
Both bowlers conceded a whopping 48 runs from three overs, Boland giving up 24 in the third over and Hastings going for 23 in the 11th.
Boland was at least able to claim the consolation of a wicket when Ross was caught at cover by Pietersen, but his day was nevertheless a painful one.
FOUR IN A ROW
The Heat have now won four matches in a row against the Stars, despite losing the toss on each occasion.