Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Ben Hilfenhaus smashed a game-winning 32 not out and took two wickets to lead the Melbourne Stars to a two-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers.
Opting to bowl first, the Stars got an early breakthrough as Scott Boland dismissed Strikers opener Jake Weatherald for 11 before debutant Liam Bowe took out Ben Dunk for 35.
Boland subsequently proceeded to rip through the Strikers’ middle order as he removed captain Brad Hodge, wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman and Jono Dean for 17, 26 and 23 respectively.
Hilhenhaus then added to the Strikers’ woes by getting rid of Kieron Pollard and Kelvin Smith in successive deliveries.
With the rest of the lower order unable to muster up some late fireworks, the Strikers finished on 152/8 off their 20 overs.
Boland was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Hilfenhaus snapped up two and Bowe chipped in with one.
Chasing 153 to win, the Stars got off to a brisk start courtesy of opening batsman Rob Quiney before fellow opener Luke Wright was sent packing by Dunk for nine runs.
Quiney fell shortly after for 31 and this sparked a major collapse as the Stars went from 52/2 to being reduced to 84/5.
Kevin Pietersen held the Stars’ innings together to the best of his ability, but was eventually run out by new signing Ish Sodhi for 32.
Evan Gulbis made a useful 22, while Boland failed to trouble the scorers, but in the end, it was Hilfenhaus who came to the rescue as he blasted an unbeaten 32, which came off 24 balls and included three boundaries and a six, to guide his side to victory with three balls to spare.
Ben Laughlin was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Sodhi took two and Dunk and Michael Neser claimed one wicket each.
Hilfenhaus was named Man of the Match.