Sorry Stars fail to shine again as Sixers claim consolation win
Glenn Maxwell's highest Big Bash League score was not enough to prevent Melbourne Stars from suffering yet another defeat in a hugely disappointing campaign, as Sydney Sixers signed off on their own underwhelming season with a five-wicket victory on Tuesday.
Maxwell notched 84 to help the visitors post 189-5 from their 20 overs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but the destructive batsman lacked partners and saw the Stars' innings grind to a halt following his departure.
Rob Quiney (36), James Faulkner (21) and Evan Gulbis (14) were the only other Melbourne players to reach double figures, as Carlos Brathwaite (2-31) led the Sixers' attack by claiming the key scalp of Maxwell.
Sixers opener Joe Denly (72 not out) and number three Nic Maddinson (61) briskly set about hunting down the target with a crucial partnership of 108, Sydney having earlier lost Jordan Silk to a fractured shoulder following an awkward fall in the field.
A fourth consecutive and final win of 2017-18 temporarily lifts the Sixers to fourth in the standings, but they are unable to snatch a berth in the finals and will drop down the table during the week ahead.
The Stars are bottom with just one victory from nine matches played ahead of their final game against Hobart Hurricanes on Saturday.
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Maxwell's exclusion from Australia's Test and one-day international squads during England's tour prompted plenty of debate, but the selectors did not dare to omit the swashbuckling 29-year-old from the side for the impending matches in the shortest format.
And he demonstrated why he remains indispensable by registering his highest score in the BBL.
The onslaught began when Sean Abbott conceded successive sixes in the fifth over, Maxwell lifting the ball over the short square boundary on the leg side for the first of four maximums in his knock. The second followed off the next ball, a 141km-delivery that was pounded over long on.
Denly and Ben Dwarshuis suffered the same fate, carted to cow corner and over square leg respectively before Brathwaite finally dislodged Maxwell, who fell slicing a yorker to Abbott at sweeper cover.
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Denly remained unbeaten at the crease as the Sixers got across the finish line, but it was Maddinson who initially set the tone for a convincing run chase.
The highlight came when the 26-year-old struck fours off every delivery in a hapless Faulkner over. That sequence made it eight boundaries in succession, Denly having sent Daniel Worrall to the ropes twice at the end of the previous over.
When you've hit six fours in an over... pic.twitter.com/NjbuIuribV-- KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 23, 2018
John Hastings was the victim when Maddinson brought up his rapid 50, which came from just 22 deliveries, and it was small consolation for the Stars captain to get the dangerman out lbw trying to flick away a yorker across his pads and down the leg side.