AB de Villiers fireworks consigns Melbourne Stars to third straight loss
AB de Villiers set up a breathtaking masterclass with the bat before the Brisbane Heat spinners skittled out Melbourne Stars for a paltry total of 115 to ensure their team remains alive in the Big Bash League.
The Heat romped to victory by an expansive margin of 71 runs to jump to the fifth position and bolster their chances of securing a place in the playoffs.
Following a few quiet outings, de Villiers finally returned to his belligerent best as he plundered the Stars bowlers with a flurry of lusty hits in the fag end of the innings.
With the visitors opting to shuffle the batting order, their decision to promote Ben Cutting to the opening slot did not really fire as he struggled for a contribution of 22 runs in as many deliveries.
The arrival of de Villiers to the crease did not accelerate the scoring rate as the Proteas great found it hard to get going instantly.
Biding his time in the middle, the 35-year-old batting genius finally broke the shackles in the death overs by ransacking a total of six sixes and two fours.
His unorthodox strokeplay and typical nifty wristwork left the opposition's bowlers bewildered in their attempts to rectify their lines and lengths.
The victim of de Villiers' majestic striking and Marnus Labuschagne's enterprising 13-ball 24 was the Stars' replacement paceman, Dilbar Hussain.
The new recruit, roped in the place of exciting quick Haris Rauf, failed to prevent the pristine slogging and leaked 56 runs in his four overs.
De Villiers' magic was then witnessed behind the stumps as well when the Heat's bowlers performed a flawless job in defending 186-5.
The immensely agile cricketer enacted a smart stumping and took a tumbling catch while rapidly moving to the short-leg position.
The Heat's spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mitchell Swepson unravelled the hosts' batting line-up with their deft variations.
Swepson snapped three wickets in an impressive spell while Mujeeb kept things tight with two for 11 in his four overs.
The spinners were ably supported by a terrific new-ball spell from James Pattinson, who accounted for the important scalp of Marcus Stoinis, the tournament's leading run-getter.