Hurricanes finish the season on a high

Nathan Ellis (16 off 5 and 2-29) put on an all-around performance, combined with fifty-plus scores from Ben McDermott (50 off 35) and Matthew Wade (63 off 41) to enable Hobart Hurricanes to defeat Melbourne Stars by a close margin of seven runs on Monday, January 15. Beau Webster (55* off 43), Marcus Stoinis (48 off 32), and Glenn Maxwell (32 off 18) couldn’t help the Stars reach the target of 188; the Hurricanes’ opening innings were crucial in their team’s above-par total.

When the Hurricanes came to bat, Wade and McDermott put on a smooth 86-run stand off 60 deliveries to get things moving. The surface was still more challenging to hit than in a batting-friendly venue, even though it was better than the average MCG deck. Wade and McDermott got a fast start on the powerplay and built on their success from there, but they were separated off the final ball before refreshments. The Stars’ spinners, Daniel Lawrence (4-35) and Imad Wasim (2-35) caused a collapse, so it was simply the perfect start. Although Tim David and Macalister Wright made brief appearances, the Hurricanes failed to form alliances that may have continued the excellent work of their openers.

The visitors concluded with a solid total thanks to Ellis’ valiant efforts in the 20th over. The Stars’ hunt didn’t start well as they dropped both of their openers with little to show for it. That meant most of the labor had to be done by their starry middle order. A 44-run partnership off 31 balls between Webster and Maxwell rekindled the innings, while a 54-ball stand of 80 runs between Stoinis and the bowler maintained the chase. Still, it felt like the Hurricanes were constantly just ahead. Ellis choked the run flow with a cunning bowling display after his cameo. To keep his team ahead, he bowled the difficult overs and made the right decisions when it counted.

Ellis produced an outstanding last over with 32 needed off 12 balls, giving up just eight runs to virtually guarantee the victory. Although Peter Hatzoglou did give up 16 runs in the last over, the game was already gone when he gave up a six in the last delivery. Stars performed admirably to remain in the hunt, but an over 185 target was always going to be risky at the MCG.

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