Glenn “Big Show” Maxwell has hammered the Sydney Sixers all but single-handed to drag the Melbourne Stars into the BBL semi-finals. Maxwell hit 82 off 43 balls in the Stars’ 94 run win, getting out (in classic Maxwell style) on the last ball of Melbourne’s 6/168 innings. He also took a stunning catch and a wicket of his own as his bowlers tore Sydney apart, getting them all out for 74.
Maxwell took control in the last 4 overs, facing 23 out of the 24 balls himself and scoring 65 runs. The batting display was phenomenal, with Maxwell recording 26421144..61642.216616x. His rampant display will be a welcome sign for Australia heading into a pair of one-day series against India and Pakistan, with the World Cup looming.
The Sixers were already into the semi-finals, and needed to get 107 to secure a home game – but they failed against the rampant Melbourne bowling attack. The big win saw the Stars sneak into the top four, leapfrogging the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder (one of whom would have made it if a light hadn’t blown and caused play to be stopped in their match).
The finals will take place this weekend, with the Hobart Hurricanes taking on the Stars in Hobart on Thursday and the Melbourne Renegades facing the Sixers on Friday in Melbourne. The winners will face off on Sunday, in either Hobart (if the Hurricanes win on Thursday) or Melbourne.
The Hurricanes, with wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade in a mood to prove a point after numerous snubbings for the Australian side, are the heavy favourites to take out the title. They finished the home and away season 2 wins clear at the top of the table, and are the clear team to beat.
The Stars, with Maxwell equalling Wade’s form recently, will provide a stern test for them after a late regular season run, while the Renegades and Sixers are almost impossible to split. In fact, their places on the ladder were decided only by net run rate.