MELBOURNE, Australia, CMC – West Indies all-rounder once again proved his worth for Sydney Thunder as they produced another strong performance to edge Melbourne Stars by a single run off the last ball in an electrifying Big Bash League encounter yesterday.
Sent in at the MCG, Thunder rallied to 178 for six off their 20 overs behind opener Usman Khawaja’s brilliant unbeaten 109 off 70 balls.
Russell smashed 22 off 16 balls to be the only other batsman to pass 20 and one of only three to reach double figures.
Sydney Thunder’s West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell … smashed 22 from 16 balls.
Thunder were going nowhere at 59 for three in the ninth over when Khawaja anchored a series of partnerships to spark a revival.
The left-hander put on 42 with Mike Hussey who scored 16 but it was his exhilarating 53-run, fifth wicket stand off 29 balls with Russell that gave the innings real momentum.
While he pummelled 12 fours and three sixes, the right-handed Russell chipped in with four boundaries before perishing in the 18th over, brilliantly caught by a leaping James Faulkner at long-on off seamer John Hastings.
In reply, Stars were propelled by Kevin Pietersen’s superb 76 off 42 balls with five fours and six sixes while Faulkner made 45 not out from 36 deliveries with two fours.
The hosts were cruising at 48 without loss before pacer Russell, who finished with two for 28 from his four overs, struck twice in the sixth over to remove both openers Marcus Stoinis (27) and Luke Wright (18) and halt their progress.
Stars then slumped to 80 for four in the in the 11th over before Pietersen and Faulkner came together to post 84 for the fifth wicket.
They needed ten from the last over but South African seamer Jacques Kallis conceded just eight runs.
In Sydney, there was no such fortunes for West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy as his Hobart Hurricanes went down by 95 runs to Sydney Sixers.
Sammy went wicket-less in two overs which cost 32 runs as Sixers piled up 186 for seven and then made two from six deliveries as Hurricanes collapsed for 91.