The score: Hobart Hurricanes 7-185 (Dan Christian 56, George Bailey 32; John Hastings 2-41) lost to the Melbourne Stars 7-186 (Kevin Pietersen 46, Ben Dunk 30; Tymal Mills 2-56) with five balls remaining
Match in a tweet: Wow! Hurricanes miss chance to lock in a finals spot as Pietersen signs off in style after a superb career at the Stars #BBL07
The hero: Kevin Pietersen showed all of his class in his final match for the Stars, with the leading run-scorer in the KFC BBL club's history entertaining the MCG crowd with a superb knock of 46 from 23 balls that included six boundaries and two sixes. Pietersen delivered 1110 runs from 33 games at a strike rate of 137.20 for the Stars since joining in 2014 and was a model of consistency during his stint and also provided priceless advice for the next generation of talent. Pietersen smashed Hurricanes paceman Tymal Mills to all parts of the MCG in the 16th over to set up the triumph, belting 18 runs from four balls before the left-arm paceman clung on to a caught and bowled opportunity. The Stars needed 35 off 25 when Pietersen departed and went on to claim their second victory of the campaign.
The support cast: Evan Gulbis was ice cool under pressure and contributed an unbeaten 19 from 13 balls, with his two sixes proving decisive, while Daniel Worrall (13 not out from 8 deliveries) also impressed in an unbroken 33-run stand. Cameos from Ben Dunk (30 off 20) and skipper John Hastings (20 off 6) were also crucial.
The consolation effort: Dan Christian hit his first half-century of the BBL season, but his fine effort proved in vain. The Hurricanes were wobbling at 5-107 in a must-win match to rubber-stamp a finals berth, before Christian smacked 56 from 37 balls in a fine knock which included to two sixes and four boundaries. Christian was given a let off in the 13th over, when dropped by Evan Gulbis, who failed to hold on to a high ball off his own bowling. Christian combined with Nathan Reardon for a 70-run stand for the sixth wicket, with the allrounder also claiming the wicket of Peter Handscomb.
The moment: Gulbis smacked Jofra Archer for a magnificent six from what was supposed to be the last ball of the 18th over in a tense contest, before the right-hander pointed out to the umpires that the Hurricanes had too many players in the outfield, resulting in a no ball and a free hit that left the Stars needing 12 runs from the final two overs – a target they achieved with five balls to spare.
The surprise: The competition’s best bowlers have struggled to find a way to restrict the prolific D’Arcy Short during a record-breaking season in which the powerful left-hander has plundered a record 504 BBL runs at a strike rate of 147.8, earning him a spot in Australia’s squad for next month’s Gillette T2OI series. Today, however, he was dismissed for a golden duck as part-time spinner Dunk trapped Short lbw in the first over of the match and his first of the tournament. Short later gained some retribution when he dismissed Dunk for 30 to leave the Stars 2-46.
The farewells: This match marked Pietersen's final hit-out in Australia after the former England international star announced his impending retirement earlier in the tournament. Foundation player Rob Quiney also played his last game in green after seven years with the Melbourne club.
Stars CEO Clint Cooper paid tribute to the departing pair: "Bobby Quiney has been a much-loved and loyal servant of our club. You'll find no better team man in sport and as a foundation member, he has added so much to the Stars culture over the past seven years. Kevin Pietersen has had an enormous impact on our club, both on the field and off. He's been such a dynamic and intelligent player for us and a huge influence on his teammates. He's captured the imagination of fans - both at the ground and in their lounge rooms. He's been terrific for the Stars and the BBL.”
The fantasy wrap: Hastings topped the rankings with 117 points, while Christian (101) and Dunk (75) rounded out the top three.
The next stops: Hobart Hurricanes faced a nervous wait to see if they would qualify, but they will tackle defending champions Perth Scorchers on Thursday night after finishing the home-and-away rounds with a 5-5 record. The match marked the end of a forgettable season for the Stars.