A record-breaking midwicket partnership has lifted the Adelaide Strikers to a 19-run win over the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
Young gun Alex Ross (65 off 30) and captain Brad Hodge (56 off 41) piled on a combined 115 runs, the biggest fifth-wicket partnership in BBL history, as the Strikers reached 5-187 at the Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
The Stars, who won the toss and elected to bowl on a hot Adelaide night, fell apart towards the end of their innings to post 7-158.
Hodge led the Strikers in style with his ninth BBL half-century, steadying the innings after openers Craig Simmons (13) and Tim Ludeman (18) were dismissed cheaply.
The Strikers slumped to 4-65 after Travis Head (16) was given out in controversial circumstances.
Head edged a delivery off John Hastings but replays appeared to show the ball hitting the ground on the way through to Stars wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb’s gloves, much to the displeasure of the parochial Adelaide crowd.
But the partnership between Ross and Hodge changed the innings to hand the Strikers their first win for the campaign.
Star import Mahela Jayawardene (5) was underwhelming with the bat on his BBL debut but redeemed himself in the field with an athletic diving catch to claim the wicket of David Hussey (25 off 13).
Youngster Marcus Stoinis (50 off 42) was the pick of the batsmen for the Stars, hitting the boundary with some classy straight drives.
High-profile batsmen Kevin Pietersen (22 off 17) and Glenn Maxwell (21 off 12) failed to build on promising starts and were both caught in the deep.
Strikers spearheads Kane Richardson (3-22) and Ben Laughlin (2-38) claimed key wickets, while English spinner Abdul Rashid (2-27) impressed on debut.