WINTER: Wright and Melbourne Stars edged out in thriller16-Jan-2013
Sussex and England all-rounder Luke Wright and his Melbourne Stars teammates suffered semi-final heartache this morning as the Perth Scorchers booked their place in the Big Bash League final with a dramatic last ball victory at the WACA.
After winning the toss, the home side elected to bat first with Wright once again opening the innings, alongside new partner Cameron White in the absence of Rob Quiney. The 27-year-old had been central to the Stars’ success in the competition to date with some typical lusty blows in the opening overs and he once again got his side off to a commanding start.
He and White put on 39 for the first wicket inside five overs before Wright was well caught by Somerset’s Alfonso Thomas at mid-on for a brisk 16 including two maximums. Veteran Brad Hodge took over where the Sussex all-rounder left off as he and White blasted the Stars to 183 for 2 from 18 overs in the rain-affected clash.
More showers meant the Scorchers had a revised target of 139 off 13 overs and thanks to Shaun Marsh (68), the home side were on target to book their place in the final. Wright was thrown the ball with just three overs to go and despite being hit for a six off the second ball of his only over, the England international went for just twelve and kept the Stars’ slim hopes alive.
In an incredible conclusion, with three required off the final ball, visiting skipper James Faulkner bowled a front foot no ball before Mike Hussey hit the winning runs off the free hit to set up a meeting with Brisbane Heat on Saturday.
Wright scored 162 runs in the seven games he played in for the Melbourne Stars with a high score of 53 in the competition’s opening game back in December and an average of 27. His ability to clear the ropes makes him such a dangerous batsman and with a tournament strike-rate of 124 and eighteen boundaries to his name, Wright certainly played his part in the Stars’ road to the semi-finals.
He’ll shortly be off to the Bangladesh Premier League where he will represent the Dhaka Gladiators, alongside fellow Sussex starlet Chris Liddle, before joining up with England in New Zealand.
by Ryan Bailey
Image: Wright hits out during his innings this morning for the Melbourne Stars