Are the Melbourne Stars any good? Hosts put in yet another Big Bash shocker to hand Perth an easy win

Two-time defending champions Perth Scorchers remain the BBL benchmark, overpowering the Melbourne Stars by seven wickets at the MCG.

After skittling Melbourne on Wednesday night for 101 in 19.1 overs, the five-time winners extended their winning streak over the Stars to six by scoring 3-102 with nearly six overs to spare.

It was a return to normal service for Perth after last Sunday’s farcical match in Geelong against the Melbourne Renegades, which was called off after a few overs because of a waterlogged pitch.

As the BBL goes into a break for the first Test until December 19, it has been an underwhelming tournament so far with the Geelong non-result and a washout among the seven matches.

Perth left-arm opening bowler Jason Behrendorff starred with 3-28, including a rare T20 double wicket maiden after the Scorchers won the toss and made the most of the conditions.

Aaron Hardie of the Perth Scorchers. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“It’s a nice start after a false start in Geelong – we talked about being aggressive and throwing the first punch … we did it quite well tonight,” he said.

“We tried to attack and it worked out really well.”

The Stars are in immediate trouble, also losing the season opener to Brisbane last week by 103 runs.

But in his first game as Stars captain, Marcus Stoinis noted how well they fielded and bowled regardless of the low total they were defending.

“I can’t fault the endeavour and the effort from the boys in the field and with the ball – really proud of that, I love that,” he said.

“That’s probably the blueprint, energy wise, for us.”

It proved a very good toss to win with Perth’s attack taking immediate control with two wickets inside the first two overs.

“Whether it’s assessing the conditions – to an extent, it’s always hard (in) the first match at the MCG, you’re not exactly sure what that wicket’s going to do,” Stoinis said.

He added they lost wickets too consistently through the middle of the innings and were unsure when to take risks as the polished Scorchers never gave them a break.

The obvious difference on Wednesday night was the fortunes of the two top orders.

Early run out chances went begging for Melbourne that could have at least built some pressure against Perth.

Cooper Connolly scored 20, fellow opener Stevie Eskinazi made 25 and No.3 Aaron Hardie contributed 20 to anchor Perth’s innings.

Haris Rauf is back with the Melbourne Stars for the 2023-24 BBL season. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Inglish (17no) and Ashton Turner (19no) closed out the match. 

Behrendorff snared Stoinis and Nick Larkin in the ninth over.

As good as the Scorchers were, the Stars batted poorly on a wicket that had been under cover for much of the last 48 hours.

No.8 Liam Dawson (22) and Haris Rauf (eight) showed up their teammates by putting on 21 for the last wicket, while Hilton Cartwright top-scored with 24 from 18 balls.

Perth left-arm spinner Hamish McKenzie was on a hat-trick in the 14th over when he dismissed Cartwright and Usama Mir for his first BBL wickets, but Joel Paris safely defended his first delivery.

McKenzie impressed with a miserly 2-12 from his overs and was man of the match.

Melbourne’s inclement start to December had threatened to disrupt the game, with rain forecast for Wednesday night but the showers stayed away.

Stoinis was captain in place of Glenn Maxwell (forearm), while Nathan Coulter-Nile (calf) was also out injured.

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