• A six and Thunder roar back and sink Stars

    With a soaring six off the last ball of the match, Irish batsman Eoin Morgan saved Sydney Thunder’s season with a win over the Melbourne Stars on Wednesday night.
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    It was an unlikely win for the struggling Thunder, cemented by England’s one-day captain in his last BBL match of the season.

    The Melbourne Stars were favourites going into the match and their players jumped for joy when a Sam Harper took a spectacular diving catch to dismiss Sydney Thunder captain Shane Watson for three.

    It looked as though they had broken the Thunder’s attack in less than six overs, leaving them at 3-43 at Spotless Stadium, all after the men in lime green had fought hard to restrict the visitors to 8-166.

    The Stars were set to consolidate their position as a finals favourite, but instead the Thunder won in spectacular fashion, beating the Victorian team by six wickets.

    Sydney needed the win after losing five matches in a row, but this will keep them in finals contention.

    And they managed to win largely without Andre Russell, who was driven from the ground after injuring his left hamstring while chasing a ball towards the boundary.

    The Jamaican star had already been battling a painful knee injury and was due to have scans after the match against the Stars. The new injury will put further doubt over the rest of his BBL series.

    The Stars got off to a cracking start.

    Glenn Maxwell and Luke Wright had no trouble finding boundaries, making 40 runs from the first four overs.

    With Sydney desperate to steady the ship, captain Shane Watson stepped up to bowl.

    Maxwell hit a high ball to leg side and Kurtis Patterson did well to hold the catch.

    Wright had been batting strongly, but hit a fairly standard ball from leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed straight back to the bowler, who took the catch with ease.

    Ahmed claimed the scalp of the Melbourne team’s captain David Hussey too, bowling the veteran out for 15.

    Coming in at number three, Kevin Pietersen was characteristically classy belting 60 off 37 balls.

    He made the most of his opportunities, reaching 50 with a hit over the empty slips cordon.

    But Watson struck again soon after, catching Pietersen out from one of his own full tosses and leaving the Stars to rely on Marcus Stoinis and James Faulkner.

    Chris Green very nearly had a hat-trick, bowling Faulkner for 12 and Sam Harper with his very next ball for a golden duck.

    The Thunder appealed loudly on the next ball, claiming Adam Zampa had been stumped by Jay Lenton from a Green ball, but video showed the batter’s foot was still clearly within his crease.

    Watson took care of Zampa soon afterwards, helped along by a strong catch by Ben Rohrer in the gully.

    It was an impressive turnaround for the home team, restricting the Stars to 20 from the last four overs.

    As it began to rain Ben Hilfenhaus went out, caught by Rohrer from a Pat Cummins ball and the Stars finished on 8-166 – a good score, but not what their form had promised early in the innings.

    Patterson and Aiden Blizzard had a more halting start for the Thunder, until the former whacked a beautiful six over long off from a Maxwell ball.

    After another four Patterson looked to be settling in for a big innings, only to be caught out by Harper from a Scott Boland ball.

    Blizzard was the Stars’ next big dismissal, bowled by Hilfenhaus for just five from 11 balls, then Watson went for three.

    Zampa bowled Rohrer for 20, making way for the Thunder’s leading run scorer this season Cummins, who had his work cut out for him with a required run rate of nearly two a ball.

    He and Morgan stayed in and chased hard.

    With just seven balls to go, Morgan smashed a six over long on from a Scott Boland ball.

    Going into the  final over they needed 15 and managed it, with one six apiece.

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