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Stars defeat Adelaide in Big Bash League
By Steve Larkin
23:50 AEST Thu Dec 27 2012

A top-shelf showing from vintage batsman Brad Hodge inspired the Melbourne Stars to an eight-run victory against the Adelaide Strikers in Thursday night's Twenty20 match in Adelaide.

Hodge cracked a sparkling 88 from 58 balls as the Stars posted 8-175, with the Strikers finishing 4-167 in reply.

The Stars, with their fourth consecutive win, took second spot on the Big Bash League ladder from Adelaide.

The Strikers' never seriously threatened to reel in their target despite a star turn from Kieron Pollard (65 from 43 balls) and solid contributions from Callum Ferguson (35 from 28) and Tim Ludeman (30 from 21).

Adelaide's hopes of pinching a win before a sell-out 15,344 home crowd hinged on their gun import Pollard.

But the West Indian couldn't engineer a big-hitting miracle despite whacking four sixes and five fours in his unbeaten knock.

The Strikers needed 27 to win from the final over and Pollard smashed two sixes and a four to add respectability to his side's score.

Melbourne's import Lasith Malinga was instrumental in restricting the home side, the Sri Lankan paceman taking 1-29 from four shrewd overs.

Fellow paceman James Faulkner also claimed an important 2-32 from four overs but his teammate Hodge was the hero with a sensational performance with the bat.

Hodge underpinned the Stars' innings with the veteran dominating scoring - when dismissed in the 15th over, Hodge had made 88 of the visitors' 129 runs.

Two days shy of his 38th birthday, Hodge was vicious on all bowlers and plundered 10 fours and three sixes.

Hodge's assault set the Stars on a path towards a massive total, but when he was dismissed they lost momentum - his wicket started a slump of 6-32.

Hodge's opening partner Rob Quiney made 22 from 12 balls but no other Stars batsman passed 17 runs, while Adelaide quick Shaun Tait (2-36 from four overs) was the only multiple wicket taker for the home side.

Hodge said his match-defining innings was pleasing.

"The thing that drives me is performance, it doesn't matter what age you are," Hodge said.

"My job is to go out there and perform every time I play."

Adelaide Strikers captain Johan Botha said the Stars were likely title threats.

"It wasn't our best performance and we still only lost by eight runs against a team that will be one of the contenders," he said.


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