15/04/2024

Haris Rauf ended his BBL|11 campaign in style. (Photo: Melbourne Stars/Twitter)

Playing their last games for BBL|11, Haris Rauf and Qais Ahmad delivered for the Melbourne Stars in the derby as a formidable bowling duo.

Internationals Haris Rauf and Qais Ahmad closed out their BBL|11 campaigns in style, claiming four wickets between them in a deadly bowling combination.

Rauf and Ahmad both played their final games in green for the tournament, with Rauf departing for the Pakistan Super League, starting in just over two weeks. Ahmad meanwhile returns to the Afghanistan national team for its upcoming ODI series against the Netherlands.

It was Rauf who started the Stars’ bowling with a bang, saving his best deliveries for last. Clocking in at an average of 145 km/h in the first over, he claimed two wickets to cripple the Renegades’ batting order early.

The first and the most impactful was removing the in form Shaun Marsh for just seven runs off six balls.

Marsh hit 39 off 36 balls coming in first drop for the Renegades against the Sydney Sixers just two days ago, also notching up a half century against the Brisbane Heat, hitting 57 off 35 balls.

But on just his second delivery, he bowled truly, giving Sam Rainbird ample opportunity to catch Marsh and dismiss the veteran.

After bowling a dot ball to Nic Maddinson, he also took his wicket for a duck, with a stunning hit outside off stump.

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    Jake Fraser-McGurk’s wicket barely eluded him, with the lightest of edges falling just short of third man, followed by a stumping near miss.

    Rauf wrapped up his BBL|11 with a figure of 2/28 off four overs, at a seven economy. He departs Australia with nine wickets from his five games.

    Ahmad came into bowl late, taking the ball for the first time after 14 overs. He too claimed a wicket on his second ball, finally removing Fraser-McGurk with a beautiful display of leg spin.

    Not content to be outdone, he followed it up by sending a length ball behind the stumps perfectly to Joe Clarke, who stumped Sam Harper accordingly.

    He finished with a team-best economy of 3.75, taking 2/15 across his four overs. Over his nine games he claimed 13 wickets, including taking three against the Brisbane Heat.

    Ahmad set himself apart in his BBL|11 stint as a handy bottom order batter when extra runs are required, hitting 16 against the Heat off just six balls. The 21-year-old showed he’s got a bit of fire with bat in hand, hitting two fours and a six in that match.

    Maxi puts on the cape

    The Stars’ batting innings can only be described as Glenn Maxwell doing Glenn Maxwell things.

    After getting on a prolonged roll at the top of the order, hitting four half centuries straight, Joe Clarke was felled for just 10 after falling for 17 against the Scorchers prior.

    Add to this Beau Webster losing his wicket for a duck, and the Stars top order was beginning to look in disarray.

    Ever the steadier of the ship, Maxwell hit a six and a four back-to-back in the same over Webster departed off Zahir Khan’s bowling.

    While he began to slow down from here, hitting just one more four between that over and before Joe Burns was caught off a high-flung Cameron Boyce delivery, there’s no questioning Maxwell’s calming of the Stars’ nerves.

    What followed from there was a slow and steady knock, as Maxwell continued to survive despite his teammates dropping around him.

    As the skipper took the ones while smacking the occasional delivery towards the rope leg side with the helmet off, Hilton Cartwright dropped from yet another catch.

    After a slow and steady first Power Surge in the 13th over, Maxwell delivered in the 14th, raising the bat for his half century as he hit three fours.

    He finished the job with one final four to bring up 68 runs off 45 balls.

    The Stars take to the field again on Saturday morning against the Adelaide Strikers for their third last game of BBL|11.

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