Russell shines again MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC): West Indies all-rounder once again proved his worth for Sydney Thunder as they produced another strong performance to edge Melbourne Stars by a single run off the last ball in an electrifying Big Bash League encounter yesterday. Sent in at the MCG, Thunder rallied to 178 for six off their 20 overs behind opener Usman Khawaja’s brilliant unbeaten 109 off 70 balls. Russell smashed 22 off 16 balls to be the only other batsman to pass 20 and one of only three to reach double figures. Thunder were going nowhere at 59 for three in the ninth over when Khawaja anchored a series of partnerships to spark a revival. It was his exhilarating 53-run fifth-wicket stand off 29 balls with Russell that gave the innings real momentum. While he pummelled 12 fours and three sixes, the right-handed Russell chipped in with four boundaries before perishing in the 18th over, brilliantly caught by a leaping James Faulkner at long on off seamer John Hastings. In reply, Stars were propelled by Kevin Pietersen’s superb 76 off 42 balls with five fours and six sixes, while Faulkner made 45 not out from 36 deliveries with two fours. The hosts were cruising at 48 without loss before pacer Russell, who finished with two for 28 from his four overs, struck twice in the sixth over to remove both openers Marcus Stoinis (27) and Luke Wright (18) and halt their progress. In Sydney, there was no such fortune for West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy as his Hobart Hurricanes went down by 95 runs to Sydney Sixers. Sammy went wicketless in two overs, which cost 32 runs, as Sixers piled up 186 for seven and then made two from six deliveries as Hurricanes collapsed for 91. Taylor sparks, but Thunder lose BRISBANE, Australia (CMC): West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor extended her handsome run of form, but Sydney Thunder’s batting failed as they collapsed to a 14-run defeat to Brisbane Heat in the women’s Big Bash League here yesterday. Chasing 142 for victory at the Gabba, Thunder were held to 127 for nine off their 20 overs, with the right-handed Taylor top-scoring with 43 and Erin Osborne getting 31. Taylor faced 47 balls and struck three fours and a six, while Osborne counted two fours off 33 deliveries. Earlier, Jess Jonassen top-scored with 47 from 44 balls and captain Delissa Kimmince hit 29 from 27 balls, to help Heat up to 141 for eight off their 20 overs. Taylor proved economical with her off spin, taking one for 23 from her four overs.
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