‘Most fun in the world’: Stoinis blasts record BBL ton
Hugs and high-fives amid record breaking scores are a bad sign for the rest of the Big Bash with the Melbourne Stars on a six-match winning streak that now includes the Sydney Sixers as victims.
The green team dispatched their closest competition, on the ladder at least, by 44 runs after a demolition job from a batting outfit which set the highest score of the season, and is averaging 165.
Marcus Stoinis smashed 147 not out and the Stars racked up 1-219 despite hot-hand Glenn Maxwell facing just two balls on an MCG wicket tailor-made for his team's hard-hitting endeavours.
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"That's the most fun can you have in the world. Yeah, I just love cricket when it's like that. It's the best thing you can ever do," Stoinis told Channel 7.
"I was quite nervous today. I was speaking about it to the boys, I said I can't believe I have played so many games I can't believe I get so nervous.
"I love playing at the MCG. I love playing for the Stars."
The Stars put a two-game break on the men in magenta registering a third win in five days and an eighth from nine games before they head west to face the Scorchers on Wednesday with some serious wind in their sails.
Insiders have been lauding the growing feeling of comfort inside the green team camp this year and the hug skipper Glenn Maxwell gave to Stoinis when he joined him at the crease for the final over was indicative of an outfit feeling the love.
Maxwell, who smashed one of his two balls for four, also high-fived Stoinis' opening partner Hilton Cartwright as he left the field having made 59 after creating a new BBL record in a 207-run opening stand.
The opening duo combined for a ridiculous 19 fours and 11 sixes, that's 142 runs in boundaries, a total it took eight of the Sixers all-slogging batting line-up to pass in their run chase which fell well short.
The question was asked before the tournament began about whether Marcus Stoinis staying in his role as an opener for the Stars was going to help him get back in the national white-ball teams given their aren't any spots for openers.
But captain Glenn Maxwell, and Stoinis too, were both adamant his place was at the top of the order for the Stars, as it has always been.
His 147 not out came as an opener, but included taking 25 off the 15th over, and another 24 off the 19th, showing he's just as good at the back end of an innings as he is at the start.
Given he can bowl at 140km/h too, even though he hasn't this season because of a foot injury, he's some sort of weapon.
HAT ON A BAT
Stoinis didn't raise his bat when he notched up his hundred, he put his helmet on his stick and waved it in the air.
He revealed is was a nod to T20 master blaster Chris Gayle who has been known to do the same thing after one of his 49 short-form centuries around the world.
The departure of Stars leg-spinner Adam Zampa for international duties was supposed to leave a hole in the bowling line-up.
But up stepped Clint Hinchliffe. The left-arm tweaker, in his first season for the Stars after crossing from the Perth Scorchers, picked up the key wickets
Hinchliffe didn't concede a single boundary and his figures of 3-20 were more impressive given the Stars main spinning man, Nepalese wizard Sandeep Lamicchane, gave up 35 runs from his four overs.
Cricket Australia laid down the law at the start of the summer that all BBL wickets had to play fast and furious to allow for maximum batting carnage after some dodgy strips around the country last season.
MCG curator Matt Page, who nailed the Boxing Day Test wicket which earned a very good rating, delivered again with a brilliant batting deck that allowed a combined 394 runs and 50 boundaries.
The only ones crying foul were the bowlers who copped a hiding.
You CANNOT DO THAT MARCUS STOINIS! What an innings ..that too at one of the biggest grounds..MCG. #BBL09— Akshay Sahai (@AkshaySahai1) January 12, 2020
Ah. The simple pleasure of watching a cricket ball disappearing into the stands is not to be underestimated. Well played M Stoinis.— Matthew Sumner (@mcsumner70) January 12, 2020