The Hobart Hurricanes have fallen to their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Melbourne Stars in a low scoring encounter dominated by the bowlers at the MCG.
Charged with the task of defending just 135, the Hurricanes bowlers, led by Ben Laughlin (3-14) and Doug Bollinger (2-22), gave a mighty effort, but came up just short as the Stars reached the target in the final over of the game.
Earlier the Hurricanes had struggled to 134/8 from their 20 overs as a tough Stars bowling line up boasting the likes of Malinga, McKay, Warne and Faulkner made runs difficult to come by for the visitors.
The run rate was a problem that plagued the Hurricanes innings from the start after losing Ponting, Birt and Shah to fall to 3-25 after just five overs and it never really recovered. It was left to Tim Paine and George Bailey to steady the ship and they did so with a controlled 46 run partnership before Bailey holed out to James Faulkner in the deep off the bowling of Cameron White for 28 from 26 balls.
The Hurricanes couldn’t stop the steady flow of wickets from that point on and just as Tim Paine was starting to unleash he picked out Maxwell on the boundary handing eventual man of the match Clint Mckay his third wicket to fall for a run a ball 46.
It was then left to some innovative stroke play from Scott Styris 24 from 17, to help provide some late resistance and give the Hurricanes bowlers something to defend by helping them scrape to 8-134.
The defence got off to a promising start and Bollinger had the Stars on the back foot with some inspired new ball bowling that saw him produce two maidens from his first two overs including the important wicket of Luke Wright.
Quiney and Hodge then steadied for the Stars with an impressive 57 run stand, including a Scott Styris over that went for 21 runs that featured three of the games five sixes.
It was Ben Laughlin who turned the game around and brought the Hurricanes back into the contest as he showed his great bowling nous, bamboozling the hosts with a series of slower balls and proceeded to pick up the wicket of the dangerous Rob Quiney for 35.
It would serve to ignite the Hurricanes as Michael Hogan came back into the attack and duly removed the danger man Brad Hodge for 34 before Laughlin struck again to remove David Hussey for 13 and leave the game delicately poised with the Stars requiring 45 from the last six overs.
Glen Maxwell and Cameron White looked to have the Stars home as they combined for a vital 30 run stand from the next 21 balls before Doug Bollinger claimed a deserved second wicket removing Maxwell. Cameron White found the boundary the very next ball however which left the equation at 10 from the last 2 overs.
Ben Laughlin tried his best to steal it late for the Hurricanes, as he claimed his third wicket, that of White and went for just five runs setting up the grandstand finish with five needed from the final over.
It was Evan Gulbis who was handed the ball and he was fresh out of luck as James Faulkner gloved a ball over Paine’s head for four to tie the scores off the first ball. A no-ball the next delivery ended the game and consigned the Hurricanes to their first defeat of the season.