Good Evening! Hello and Welcome to CricketCountry’s live coverage of the final of the 2015-16 Big Bash League (BBL) between hosts Melbourne Stars and visitors Sydney Thunder at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday. I am Vishal Mehra and I will be bringing you all the live updates from what promises to be an exciting and thrilling final. Both the teams are laying their maiden final of the tournament for the first time in five years, since the tournament was officially underway. Stars, who have been sensational in the0 group stage would aim to lift their maiden BBL title, while Thunder, who too have been laying some good cricket of late, too, would aim to go for the title. Who would be crowned the champions? Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder, Big Bash League 2015-16, Final at Melbourne, Preview

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 181/7 in 19.3 overs | Batting: Ben Rohrer 13(9), Chris Hartley 0(0): The Sydney Thunder have won the match by three wickets with just as many balls to spare. It was a nice effort by them with Usman Khawaja playing an important innings upfront. Ben Rohrer sealed the game with a six and it is a fairytale for Mike Hussey on his last BBL game.

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 173/7 in 19 overs | Batting: Ben Rohrer 5(6), Chris Hartley 0(0): Now it’s as good as over for the Melbourne Stars. They have fought hard but finally that Khawaja innings proved a tad too much for them. Chris Green kept his head on his shoulders under pressure and played a couple of fine sensible shots. OUT! Aiden Blizzard 16(7) run out, OUT! Chris Green 8(5) c D Hussey b Stoinis

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 152/5 in 17 overs | Batting: Ben Rohrer 6(3), Aiden Blizzard 3(3): This is turning out to be an absolute thriller. Stoinis troubled Russell with some short stuff before foxing him with a slower short one outside off and induced the top edge off the attempted cut shot which the keeper pouched. OUT! Andre Russell 10(8) c Handscomb b Stoinis

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 145/4 in 16 overs | Batting: Andre Russell 10(6), Ben Rohrer 2(2): And Zampa has struck with the wicket of Mike Hussey. It was a regulation off break, Hussey attempted the sweep, but got the behind part of the bat on it and the ball went on to crash the stumps. Melbourne Stars now has an outside chance in this game. OUT! Mike Hussey 18(15) b Zampa

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 131/3 in 14 overs | Batting: Mike Hussey 9(9), Andre Russell 7(2): The 14th over was one of those that reinstate that cricket is a funny game. Usman Khawaja whose innigs was so faultless till that point hit a low full toss to point to get dismissed. Andre Russell came off the next ball and smashed a massive six! OUT! Usman Khawaja 70(40) c Worall b Hussey

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 96/2 in 11 overs | Batting: Usman Khawaja 54(30), Mike Hussey 1(2): So now things are starting to tick for the Stars with Marcus Stoinis getting rid of Shane Watson for six runs with a slower ball which Watson holes out to David Hussey at midwicket. His dismissal brings Mike Hussey to the crease for his last innings in the BBL. OUT! Shane Watson 6(7) c D Hussey b Stoinis

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 91/1 in 10 overs | Batting: Usman Khawaja 52(28), Shane Watson 4(4): Finally some respite for the Melbourne Stars as Adam Zampa gets rid of Jacques Kallis. The dangerman Usman Khawaja is batting on a fifty and he will be the crucial wicket if Melbourne Stars need to get right back in this contest. Shane Watson is the new man in. OUT! Jacques Kallis 28(27) c Pietersen b Zampa

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 62/0 in 6 overs | Batting: Usman Khawaja 35(16), Jacques Kallis 23(20): The going has been very good for the Sydney Thunder in the powerplay overs. Usman Khawaja has fashioned a fantastic start for the electric greens. He’s scoring at almost 200. Stars will have to get his dismissal and do it soon.

Live Cricket Score Sydney Thunder 17/0 in 2 overs | Batting: Usman Khawaja 11(6), Jacques Kallis 4(6): A very balanced first couple of overs into the Sydney Thunder innings. Daniel Worall conceded just four runs in the first over. But Sydney Thunder have made up for that in the next over. Usman Khawaja looking in very good touch. The second over brings 13 runs for the Thunder.


 

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 176/9 in 20 overs | Batting: Ben Hilfenhaus 0(1): Quite a decent start to the over by McKay. Got in a yorker length ball first up which Zampa nicely guided to third man for three runs. The next ball was a slower one which yielded one run. Single of the third ball too. Batsmen tried to run two after hitting it straight down the ground but a direct hit from the deep meant Zampa was run out! Next ball was well struck by Gulbis to midwicket but not well enough, Zampa ran in from long on and staged a fantastic relay catch on the run. Importantly, that has saved about six runs. Final ball is swing and a miss but the batsmen scamper a bye which is actually run out. Just five runs of it. OUT! Adam Zampa 15(10) run out Rohrer, Evan Gulbis 16(11) c Green b McKay, D Worall 0(0) run out

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 170/6 in 19 overs | Batting: Evan Gulbis 14(8), Adam Zampa 11(8): It’s great going for the Melbourne Stars. A score of over 190 is on cards if they really give it a hard push in the final over. Andre Russell bowled well but gave one or two scoring balls which the batsmen cashed in on. Clint McKay bowled a pretty economical 18th over too.

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 154/6 in 17 overs | Batting: Evan Gulbis 8(3), Adam Zampa 1(1): Another wicket, but a good over for the Stars on the whole in terms of runs scored; 15 came of it. They will hope to finish this off well from here. Rob Quiney was dismissed Andre Russell caught and bowled. He chipped the ball straight back to Russell possibly because of the pressure created by the short balls.

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 139/5 in 16 overs | Batting: Rob Quiney 2(2): Big, big wicket at this stage. Kevin Pietersen was the only Stars batsmen looking comfortable at the crease today but he’s been dismissed in an unusual manner. He simply parried the full length ball back to Chris Green for a simple catch! OUT! Kevin Pietersen 74(39) c Green b Green

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 132/4 in 15 overs | Batting: Kevin Pietersen 68(34), Rob Quiney 1(1): Jacques Kallis proving that he’s still ot it in him to trouble the batsmen. Bowls a good mix of deliveries including a short ball that troubled KP. It was a yorker that got David Hussey for a 14-ball 21. Rob Quiney is the new man at the crease. OUT! David Hussey 21(14) b Kallis

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 122/3 in 14 overs | Batting: Kevin Pietersen 60(31), David Hussey 20(12): Things quite evenly poised at the moment but tipped in favour of the Melbourne Stars to a certain degree. The Sydney Thunder bowlers are doing a good, consolidated job with a variety of deliveries.

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 101/3 in 12 overs | Batting: Kevin Pietersen 56(27), David Hussey 3(4): Pietersen brought up his fifty in that over and celebrated the same with a massive six a couple of balls later! While he’s at the crease, things will look good for the Melbourne Stars.

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 92/3 in 11 overs | Batting: Kevin Pietersen 49(24), David Hussey 1(1): Kevin Pietersen is holding things together even as the other batsmen have got out without making significant impacts. Peter Handscomb was dismissed for a run-a-ball 9. Pietersen is having a frollicking time in the middle. He’ll look for three figures! Peter Handscomb 9(9) c Hussey b Chris Green

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 50/2 in 7 overs | Batting: Kevin Pietersen 18(10): That’s a troubling fact for the Melbourne Stars; Luke Wright has fallen to a slower short ball by Shane Watson, very cleverly disguised delivery. Luke Wright hit him for four in the same over and went for another biggie, but got to the bottom edge onto the stumps! OUT! Luke Wright 23(24) b Watson

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 43/1 in 6 overs | Batting: Luke Wright 18(20), Kevin Pietersen 16(8): Kevin Pietersen seems to be in the frame of mind he’d like to be on a finals. He’s played just eight balls so far but already put away three balls away for four. Luke Wright has slowed down just a little bit. He’ll want to up that asking rate a little bit. Match evenly poised at the moment. Russell looking potent.

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 28/1 in 4 overs | Batting: Luke Wright 17(15), Kevin Pietersen 4(1): Clint McKay, the tournaments highest wicket-taker was taken for a few runs in the third over. 16 runs to be precise including a huge six by Wright over mid on. Jacques Kallis was brought on for the next over. One over spell for the bowlers, surprising strategy. Kallis is actually getting some movement off the surface. Concedes just five runs in the over despite getting hit for a boundary second ball.

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 7/1 in 2 overs | Batting: Luke Wright 1(4), Kevin Pietersen 0(0): It’s far from the ideal start for the home team Melbourne Stars. Marcus Stoinis was evidently troubled by the short ball in the first over. This time he fell to a back of length delivery which he tried to heave over mid on but gets a leading edge to mid off where Russell takes the catch! OUT! Marcus Stoinis 5(8) c Russell b Watson

Live Cricket Score Melbourne Stars 6/0 in 1 over | Batting: Marcus Stoinis 5(6), Luke Wright 0(0): Marcus Stoinis has a mixed start. Gets a nasty rising ball first, hits him high. Next ball he nicely clips to the square leg boundary for a FOUR! Andre Russell getting good pace and bounce but needs to tighten screws on the accuracy. Constantly hitting the 143-143 kmph mark but its his steep bounce that’s making him dangerous.

Teams:

Melbourne Stars: Luke Wright, Marcus Stoinis, Kevin Pietersen, Peter Handscomb (wk), David Hussey (c), Rob Quiney, Evan Gulbis, Adam Zampa, Ben Hilfenhaus, Daniel Worrall, Michael Beer

Sydney Thunder: Jacques Kallis, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey (c), Aiden Blizzard, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Chris Hartley (wk), Clint McKay, Chris Green, Fawad Ahmed

TOSS: Sydney Thunder have won the toss and put Melbourne Stars in to bat first

Considering the performance in the tournament so far, the Stars were off to a poor start in the tournament, losing three matches in the opening four games. However, they played good enough to make a turnaround and were on a winning spree, as they won four games on the trot, thus allowing themselves to be comfortably seated second in the league table. Thunder, on the other hand, had a 50-50 record as they played eight games and managed to win four games, while they lost four games as well, and managed to finish just on the fourth spot, good enough to qualify for the semi-finals, where they beat the Strikers to earn a final spot. They finished the group stage with eight points.

Squads:

Melbourne Stars: Luke Wright, Marcus Stoinis, Kevin Pietersen, Peter Handscomb (wk), David Hussey (c), Rob Quiney, Evan Gulbis, Adam Zampa, Ben Hilfenhaus, Daniel Worrall, Michael Beer, Seb Gotch, Jackson Coleman.

Sydney Thunder: Nathan McAndrew, Michael Hussey, Fawad Ahmed, Ahilen Beadle, Aiden Blizzard, Pat Cummins, Jake Doran, Chris Green, Chris Hartley, Jacques Kallis, Usman Khawaja, Alister McDermott, Clint McKay, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Gurinder Sandhu, Shane Watson, Ryan Gibson, Andrew McDonald, Henry Nicholls.

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