The sun was shining for the first ever Big Bash League game at the Junction Oval as the new look Melbourne Stars fell 50 runs short of the red-hot Perth Scorchers.
Despite a terrific direct hit runout by spinner Tom O’Connell early on, Scorchers duo Kurtis Patterson (54 off 39) and Colin Munro (40 off 20) took it up to the Stars bowling attack early, blasting their way to over a hundred runs within the first ten overs.
The Stars didn’t lie down though, with Afghan spinner Qais Ahmad (2/26 from 4 overs) helping to slow the Scorchers down as they posted a total of 8/180.
The return of fan-favourite Stars bowler Haris Rauf was impressive as the speedster took 2/40 in his first game of BBL|11.
The Stars started their run chase off in fine fashion, with the in-form Joe Clarke (52 off 32) and new recruit Tom Rogers (32 off 25) powering their way to a 78-run partnership.
Despite a solid opening stanza, the Stars middle order were unable to go on with such a positive start as they were bowled out for 130.
Joe Clarke continued his rich vein of form putting together a clinical innings of 52 runs off 32 balls.
The Englishman utilised his experience and leadership at the top of the order to help guide the Stars’ new recruits through what was a challenging day for all involved.
After a slow start to the tournament, Clarke has compiled three half centuries in a row and is one of the most in form batters in the competition right now. He’s not going slowly either, with a strike rate of 162 over his past three matches.
Despite the loss, there were many positives to come out of the contest, with four Stars making their club debut.
Tom Rogers, Charlie Wakim, Xavier Crone and Justin Avendano formed a quartet of last-minute additions given the Stars’ recent COVID-19 chaos.
All had their moments, whether it was a crisp drive from Wakim or a dangerous ball from Crone.
The Stars next match is the derby against cross-town rivals the Melbourne Renegades on the 3rd of January.