Glenn Maxwell has blasted back to form to guide the Melbourne Stars to a crucial six-wicket win over the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
In his second game back from COVID-19, Maxwell opened the batting and scored 68 from 45 balls as the Stars reached 4-123 in just 14.3 overs.
The Renegades won the bat flip on Thursday night under the Marvel Stadium roof but could only manage 7-122.
It was Maxwell’s 18th BBL half-century and the innings featured eight fours and a six.
After a fortnight of COVID-19 dramas, the Stars climbed from bottom to fifth on the BBL ladder and are back in the finals hunt.
By contrast, the Renegades are last and struggled again, in particular with the bat.
In his last BBL game this season before he returns to Pakistan, opening bowler Haris Rauf set the tone for the Stars.
The paceman snared two wickets in the second over of the innings and then took a catch as the Renegades were reduced to 3-25.
Rauf, who has been recalled by his Pakistan Super League team the Lahore Qalanders, briefly had to leave the field because of a sore leg.
But he returned and bowled out his overs, taking 2-28.
A 51-run stand between Jake Fraser-McGurk and Aaron Finch steadied the Renegades innings on but they were unable to mount a late charge.
Qais Ahmad bowled Fraser-McGuirk for 32 and Finch was filthy on himself after Brody Couch bowled him in the second-last over for 45.
Finch batted at No.5, a rare appearance for him so low in the order
His dismissal ended any hopes the Renegades had of posting a reasonable score.
They needed a massive effort in the field and there was a glimmer of hope when they reduced the Stars to 2-15 in the second over, and then 3-67 in the ninth.
But Maxwell was imperious and when the Renegades could not dismiss him their fate was sealed.
The Stars could not consider Marcus Stoinis (back) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (hamstring) for the match.
It was still a vastly different scenario to their derby at the start of the month, when coronavirus decimated the Stars squad and they had to call on club players as the Renegades won easily.