Stars find their “love” and are ready to enjoy home-style cooking


The fact that the next four games will all take place in Melbourne, including a second leg of the local derby at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday, leaves skipper Maxwell optimistic about his team’s hopes.

“It’s nice to be back home. We’re playing pretty well here, we’ve prepared well on the ground and we feel we have the right team for the conditions,” said Maxwell on Saturday.

Failing 18 in nine previous innings, Fletcher was close to tears after beating an undefeated 89, including 32 runs during the Power Surge.

It was later revealed that he had received a call for support from Brian Lara of the West Indies, who was commenting for Channel Seven later in the week.

“You could see what it meant to him after the game. He was pretty emotional and obviously got a call from ‘The Prince’ during the week,” said Maxwell.

“Just having that support behind the scenes was really crucial for him.”


Maxwell, who broke away from golden ducks in a row, hit 37 of 28 deliveries, and his hug with Fletcher after the Stars’ innings also told a story.

“To be honest, he [Maxwell] was so happy for me. It was a little emotional. He said he loved me. I know the players are looking for me to get a big score and they want the best for me and I’m happy to be in that locker room, “said Fletcher.

Then it went to Zampa, who, despite injuring his shoulder on the field, challenged 5-17 to crush the Strikers for 68 – the lowest sum ever.

It was a rocky start for the stars. That win came in a week when they brought out sub-par batsman wicketkeeper Ben Dunk, who had more than one season left on his five-year contract. They have now lost the Pakistani fast-paced player Haris Rauf, who returned home for the test series against South Africa, but all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile (Kalb) could return on Sunday.

While the stars remain in the play-off picture, the Renegades’ plans appear shot. Coach Michael Klinger, who is out of contract this season, is fighting for his job after a terrible two seasons, while the top finish in a campaign that saw only two wins out of ten games was a mess.

Skipper Aaron Finch, one of the most damaging openers in white ball cricket, fell back to fourth in the order in the loss to the Brisbane Heat with five wickets for match-up reasons, but that didn’t work.

Finch said Saturday that he would return to the top of the order where the Renegades also need the enigmatic Sam Harper to produce a big inning. Youngsters Jake Fraser-McGurk, 18, and Mackenzie Harvey, 20, have shown great promise.

It’s hard to believe the Renegades were the 2018-19 champions as they have only won five out of 24 games since then, but it ensures there will be an awkward flashback after the season.

It has not been lost with some officials that the team’s fall came after a restructuring of Cricket Victoria that led to the abolition of the relatively independent boards of the Renegades and Stars.

Possible teams: Stars: Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Seb Gotch (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nil, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Zahir Khan.

Renegades: Aaron Finch (c), Noor Ahmad, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper (wk), Mackenzie Harvey, Peter Hatzoglou, Shaun Marsh, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Imad Wasim, Beau Webster.

Jon Pierik is a cricket writer for The Age. He also reports on AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.

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