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Scorchers beat Stars in final-ball BBL
By Justin Chadwick
00:35 AEST Thu Jan 17 2013

Paceman James Faulkner was left a shattered figure after his no-ball cost the Melbourne Stars victory in their rain-affected Twenty20 semi-final clash with the Perth Scorchers at the WACA Ground.

In a remarkable contest, the Stars were in the box seat to host Saturday's grand final against Brisbane Heat after cracking 2-183 off 18 overs, with big-hitting duo Cameron White (88 off 53 balls) and Brad Hodge (70no off 43 balls) combining for 10 sixes and 12 fours.

Under the Duckworth-Lewis method, the Scorchers required 139 for victory off 13 overs, and finished at 2-142 after Mike Hussey struck a boundary on the final ball.

But it wasn't as simple as that.

Scorchers opener Herschelle Gibbs was forced to retire on seven due to a hamstring injury.

But Shaun Marsh turned the match on its head, cracking 68 off 40 balls to lift the Scorchers to within sight of victory in front of 17,903.

The Scorchers needed 10 runs off the final over, and the equation became a tough three runs off the final ball, with Adam Voges on strike to Faulkner.

The Stars thought they had it won after the Scorchers managed just a single following a swing-and-miss from Voges.

But a front-foot no-ball shattered the Stars' dreams, with Hussey striking a boundary off the next ball to secure victory.

The result was a double bonus for the Scorchers, who along with earning the right to host the grand final, have now also qualified for the lucrative T20 Champions League later this year.

While Hussey hit the winning runs, Marsh was the true hero of the night.

The Big Bash competition has been a saving grace for the talented left-hander, who was banished to grade ranks by Western Australia in October following a horrible run of form.

But after striking 396 runs in this summer's Big Bash, Marsh is back in top form, and ready for a national recall.

Scorchers vice-captain Voges (36no off 21 balls) and Hussey (21no off 12) also played a key role in the win after Marsh fell with 38 more runs still required.

Earlier, White and Hodge took a while to get going, but once they did, it was absolutely ruthless.

At the height of their onslaught, the Stars went from 100 to 150 in just 12 balls.

Veteran Scorchers spinner Brad Hogg copped much of the pain, conceding 44 runs from his three overs.

White should have been run out on 47, but Jason Behrendorff failed to hit the stumps from close range.

Even if Faulkner hadn't committed the front-foot no-ball, the Stars would have been penalised anyway after only having three men inside the inner fielding circle as Faulkner steamed in.

"We had six outside the circle, so it's pretty disappointing to come all this way to lose a game of cricket," Faulkner said as the Scorchers sang their team song in the background.

Hussey, who was dropped by Jackson Bird in the final over, said he was relieved when the umpire signalled a no-ball on what was meant to be the final ball.

"It sort of went from agony to ecstasy there. I thought we'd lost by one run, and then when I saw the arm go out ... I was pretty excited," Hussey said.


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