A century stand between captain Glenn Maxwell and star import Nicholas Pooran has lifted the Melbourne Stars to a first innings total of 5-193 in Saturday’s BBL grand final rematch against the Sydney Sixers.
Pooran belted 65 off just 26 balls in the West Indian’s first knock for the Stars this summer, combining with Maxwell to add 125 off 63 deliveries for the fifth wicket.
Maxwell carried on after Pooran’s dismissal to finish with 71 not out off 47 deliveries including his fifth six of the innings off the last delivery in a Boxing Day clash played in front of a small crowd at a mostly empty Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The Sixers were actually well placed when the pair came together, having reduced the Stars to 4-49 in the ninth over.
Sydney made the choice to replace offspinner Benjamin Manenti with their substitute Gurinder Sandhu at the midway point in the innings.
Sandhu sparked Pooran’s assault two overs later when he caught the left-hander on the back of his head with a bouncer.
After a cursory concussion check, Pooran belted 42 off the next eight deliveries he faced including six sixes.
The pair both reached their half-centuries with sixes as they posted the highest score in a two-over Power Surge this summer, scoring 49 off the 13th and 14th overs.
Sandhu eventually ended the partnership when he had Pooran caught at the long-off boundary by West Indies captain Jason Holder but his 1-28 off two overs wasn’t the impact the Sixers would have been hoping for when they threw him into the game.
Veteran spinner Stephen O’Keefe was the pick of the Sixers’ bowlers with 2-13 but, oddly, only bowled two of his four overs.