Kathmandu, February 10
Nepali legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane shone with the ball to guide Melbourne Stars to the semi-finals of the Big Bash League in Melbourne today.
Lamichhane returned with the magical figures of 3-11 from 3.4 overs as the Stars defeated Sydney Sixers by 94 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Stars — who accumulated 14 points to finish as the fourth team in the standing after the win — will now play against table-toppers Hobart Hurricanes on Thursday for a place in the final.
Melbourne Renegades will host the Sixers in another clash.
Batting first, the Stars posted 168-6 in 20 overs riding on brilliant knock from skipper Glenn Maxwell. In reply, Lamichhane helped the Stars pack Sixers for a paltry 74 runs in 13.4 overs.
Lamichhane — who returned to Australia after completing his national team duty in the UAE where Nepal won both the ODI and T20 International series over the home side — was brought into action in the eighth over when the Sixers were already struggling at 48-5. And the Nepali superstar did not frustrate his skipper after he got the wicket in his first over, trapping Tom Curran (10) leg before the wicket in the fifth ball.
Lamichhane then bowled an economical over conceding just six runs in his second over. Lamichhane reduced the Sixers to 65-8 when he had Ben Dwarshuis caught by Maxwell in the fourth ball of the 12th over and he affected a run out to dismiss Nathan Lyon in the next over bowled by Adam Zampa. Lamichhane then finished things off after he dismissed Lloyd Pope, caught by Marcus Stoinis at cover, for his 11th wicket in six matches.
Lamichhane was ably supported by Zampa (2-15) and Daniel Worrall (2-24), while Jackson Bird and skipper Maxwell took one wicket each. Daniel Hughes top scored for the Sixers with 12 runs, while Curran (11) and Steve O’Keefe (10) were the other two batsmen who managed runs in double figures.
Earlier, man-of-the-match Maxwell struck four boundaries and six sixes in his fiery knock of 43-ball 82. The Stars were 91-3 in 15 overs and Maxwell had scored 16 off 18 balls before he led the onslaught and added 77 runs in the last five overs before being dismissed in the last ball of the innings.
A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.