The Melbourne Stars came into tonight’s game against the Hobart Hurricanes with nothing to lose. It hasn’t been a great season for Team Green, and with finals out of the picture, there was just pride on the line.
It was a reasonable enough start to a Big Bash T20 fixture, a couple of looseners from the Hurricanes.
D’Arcy Short was thrown the ball as the ‘Canes have done for much of the season. A couple more looseners before the first two legal deliveries were sent down. Bang. Bang. And now Glenn Maxwell is 13 off five.
Sandeep Lamichhane enters the Power Play. Six balls and 18 runs later, all to Maxwell, you would be excused for thinking it’s going to be a big four over total.
But that’s the nature of the Power Play. Four crazy overs, then things settle down a little, right?
Let’s take a moment to briefly go back to last week – in fact six days ago when the Stars faced the Renegades. Maxwell has not long returned from a COVID induced break.
Maxwell pulled coach David Hussey aside with a simple request – I want to get into the game. I want to open. And who is Huss to disagree?
Since that ‘discussion’, Maxwell has contributed 121 runs from 85 balls in the three innings coming in at the top of the order, at a strike rate of 142. The Stars would win two of those three matches.
Back to tonight, and Maxwell has just closed out the Power Play with another boundary. The score is now a jaw-dropping 0/63. Maxwell has 41 of those runs, from a paltry 16 balls. He alone is travelling at roughly 14 runs per over.
At this time you might say it was a good toss to lose.
Another couple of overs pass, and the Stars have quietly moved on to 79. Maxwell brings up his 50 from his 20th delivery faced, and we’re in just the sixth over.
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It has to be said to this point, Maxwell had been capably assisted by Joe Clarke, who would fall in the seventh over for an accomplished 35 from 18 balls. But you would be excused for hardly noticing.
And the problems continue for the Hurricanes, as the eighth over cost 18 runs from the other five deliveries. The Stars are now 1/97, and seemingly cruising at nearly 14 runs per over.
Cruising. At 14 runs per over.
It’s at this point you can start thinking… what if? What if Maxi stayed in for another 30 balls. Another 10 overs? What if he carried his bat through the innings?
Overs eight, nine and 10 are ticked off. 33 more runs. Maxwell has connected for four more boundaries and a six, among some spare change. The Bash Boost target has been set at an astonishing 130.
Maxwell is an even more astonishing 89 off 37.
The Hurricanes tasked Jordan Thompson with the 11th over, and Maxwell is making it up as he goes. It takes just four balls in the Thompson over to provide the 11 runs required for one of the most memorable centuries seen at the MCG.
Glenn Maxwell brings up his 100 from 41 balls. A fine way to celebrate your 100th Big Bash League appearance.
With Larkin going cheap (three), Maxwell is joined at the crease by his good mate, and current Big Bash individual innings record holder, Marcus Stoinis. And it doesn’t take long for ‘Stoiny’ to join in the action.
17 runs flow from the bat in the twelfth over, 16 of them to G. Maxwell. The following Lamichhane over goes for just four, and we all catch our collective breath.
Two for 162 from 13 overs at a RR of 12.46. Surely normal programming can now resume?
Stoinis has other ideas, as the next three balls disappear into the bleaches in a 26-run onslaught.
Overs 15 (eight runs), 16 (eight) and 17 (12) tick past. Maxwell looks tired and might be resigned to posting a big hundred, but perhaps not the biggest hundred. He’s on 127* (from 55 balls), the Stars a whopping 2/216.
The Thunder’s highest ever BBL team score of 5/232, set 362 days ago, is surely in trouble.
Maxi is 20 runs shy of Stoinis high-water mark of 147*. Lamichhane is thrown the ball. You can be sure he didn’t ask for it.
And in just five balls – five consecutive boundaries, Maxwell has tied Stoinis’ highest ever Big Bash League score of 147*. The final ball of the over would be saved at deep backward point for two runs, and Glenn Maxwell is the new holder of the highest Individual BBL score with 149*.
In the same over, the Stars didn’t just set the highest ever score in the BBL, they’ve done it with two overs to spare, and they’re not done yet.
Stoinis faces up for the 19th over and takes Josh Kann for 22 more, and with the honours shared in a final 13-run 20th over, the score has surged to an incredible 2/273.
Glen Maxwell heads off the ground and salutes the crowd, unbeaten on 154 from just 64 balls. He was there at the beginning and faced just over half the total balls in the innings.
And just quietly, Stoinis’ contribution of 75 from 31 balls is about half Maxwell’s runs, from about half the balls faced.
The Hurricanes may have dodged a bullet tonight.
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