Rauf takes hat-trick as Stars soar to summit
Haris Rauf took a hat-trick and Glenn Maxwell became Melbourne Stars' record run-scorer as Sydney Thunder were beaten by six wickets at the MCG.
The in-form Stars moved top of the Big Bash League table, level on points with Sydney Sixers with a better net run rate and a game in hand, by securing a fourth consecutive victory on Wednesday.
Pakistani paceman Rauf claimed the second Big Bash hat-trick of the day after Rashid Khan took three in three during the Adelaide Strikers' defeat to Sydney Sixers.
The Thunder were restricted to 145-5 after a brilliant final over from Rauf (3-23), Matthew Gilkes top scoring with 41 from 35 balls.
Also see – BBL Most Wickets
Marcus Stoinis (50) struck a third consecutive half-century, while Maxwell made an unbeaten 59 from just 37 balls to replace Luke Wright as the Stars' leading run-scorer to get his side home with more than two overs to spare.
Defeat for the Thunder was their second in a row and dropped them down a place to fourth on a day in which spinner Chris Green was banned from bowling for three months due to an illegal delivery action.
We go 6-1 in #BBL09!
A magic night at the @MCG in front of 21,322 #TeamGreen fans. pic.twitter.com/ov763n06og — Melbourne Stars (@StarsBBL) January 8, 2020
RAPID RAUF ROCKS THUNDER
Rauf has been a revelation for the Stars since being plucked from grade cricket in Hobart as cover for Dale Steyn.
The quick could be returning to Australia for the T20 World Cup later this year after he took his tally of wickets to 13 in four matches in dramatic fashion.
Rauf saw the back of Gilkes, who struck two sixes, with the second ball of the last over and Callum Ferguson played on to the next delivery before Daniel Sams was trapped lbw on the hat-trick ball.
SENSATIONAL STOINIS CONTINUES PURPLE PATCH
Stoinis maintained his outstanding form to move over the 300-run mark for the tournament.
The leading run-scorer in the 2019-20 competition had a touch of fortune when he was given not out after being rapped on the pad by Chris Tremain in the third over.
Stoinis took advantage by anchoring the run chase, hitting a six and another four boundaries before holing out off Jonathan Cook, leaving the Stars 103-4 in the 14th.
MAGNIFICENT MAXWELL EASES STARS HOME
Captain Maxwell took only 29 balls to score his first half-century of the tournament.
The all-rounder, who also conceded just 18 runs from three overs, found the rope eight times and launched Tremain for six to keep the Stars on course for victory.
Maxwell was on the deck after trying to clatter Morris and making no contact, but he hit the South Africa bowler for a glorious boundary to finish off the job in the same over.Modified 09 Jan 2020, 15:30 IST