Hilfenhaus heroics get Stars over the line | Adelaide Strikers - BBL
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Hilfenhaus heroics get Stars over the line

11 January 2017

A fine cameo from Stars tail-ender Ben Hilfenhaus has seen the Stars get up in a see-sawing match over the Strikers at home.

The scorecard: Adelaide Strikers 8-152 (Dunk 35, Boland 4-30) lost to Melbourne Stars (Hilfenhaus 32no, Pietersen 32, Laughlin 3-19) by two wickets with three balls remaining

The match in a tweet: Stars secure absolute thriller! Hilfy comes to the party as hosts down Strikers in see-sawing epic #BBL06

The (unlikely) hero: Ben Hilfenhaus probably wouldn't class himself as the best No.8 batsman in the BBL, and when he played out five consecutive dot balls in the 16th over, bowled by young Strikers debutant Wes Agar, the game suddenly looked just about beyond the Stars. But two overs later, with the same pair again facing off, the story was a completely different one. The Stars began the over needing 29 from 18 balls, and after Hilfenhaus took a pair of twos, a pair of fours and a six from the over, the equation was suddenly 11 from 12.

The over that turned the contest

Despite two late wickets falling, the veteran Tasmanian refused to be rattled, finally collecting the winning runs with three balls to spare. It was improbable, phenomenal, flat-out miraculous stuff – the sort of against-the-script drama the Big Bash has been built upon.

Hilf's stunning cameo gets Stars home

The destroyer: Scott Boland (4-30) was in impressive form, hitting the pitch hard as he removed opener Jake Weatherald before returning to take care of experienced Brad Hodge and Tim Ludeman in the space of three balls and adding Jono Dean as a fourth victim late in the innings. It was the Stars quick's best-ever return in the BBL, and the first time he's taken more than two wickets in an innings.

Boland produces his BBL best

The debut: Liam Bowe was an unknown teenage Chinaman at the beginning of this match, now he's a BBL wicket-taker with an established nickname. 'The Wizard' landed his first delivery, took  the key wicket of Ben Dunk a few balls lateer, and barely missed a beat in an impressive debut that earned rave reviews from Ricky Ponting in the commentary box. "The Stars have found one there, I reckon," said Ponting, and who are we to argue?

Magic debut over from 'the Wizard'

The debut II: Anything Bowe could do, Ish Sodhi could do better. The Black Caps leg-spinner was playing his first match for the Strikers and struck with the key wicket of in-form Test batsman Peter Handscomb in his first over, before having David Hussey caught at midwicket a short time later. They were two crucial interventions that kept the match on a knife's edge, and the leggie was also extremely miserly, conceding just 25 from his four overs.

The hattie chance: Hilfenhaus's night to remember actually began during the Strikers innings, when he snared two in two for the second time in BBL|06. He put in a huge appeal on his hat-trick ball when he struck Sodhi on the foot coming around the wicket, however the umpire rightly called the ball to be pitching outside leg stump.

Hilfy not happy after hattie ball

The collapse: Chasing a moderate total, the Stars stumbled badly in the first half of their innings, losing some key figures in a collapse of 4-18 in the space of four overs. It set up a quite extraordinary finale.

The form man: Rob Quiney has had a new lease of life with the Stars this season, playing some stunning hands at the top of the order. Tonight's was short but sweet, with the left-hander blasting six fours in his 31 from just 17 balls, but in a low-scoring contest, it was a crucial hand.

Quiney blazes quick-fire 31

The run-out: Sodhi's influence didn't end with his brilliant bowling performance. This excellent return caught Kevin Pietersen (32) short of his ground, and would have earned his side the win but for the late heroics of Hilfenhaus. 

KP caught short by Sodhi

The wash-up: That's a big win for the Stars, who make it two in a row and jump into third spot on the ladder with three wins from five. It's also a huge loss for the Strikers, who are now sitting in sixth with just two wins from six. So it's must-win for the Adelaide side in their next clash, at home to the Renegades, while the Stars next face the Heat at the MCG on January 17. 

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