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McKay out for Strikers match

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Melbourne Stars allrounder James Faulkner says it’s a sign of how well his unbeaten BBL side is performing that they can drop a player as good as paceman Clint McKay for tonight’s match against Adelaide.

McKay was named Australia’s one-day international player of the year last February and is in the national squad for the ODI series against England, which begins at the MCG on Sunday.

But, after being belted for 50 runs off his four overs against the Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, he has been left out of the Stars’ 13-man squad to play the Strikers at the MCG tonight.

“Everyone knows what he can do,” Faulkner told reporters.

“Like I’ve said the whole tournament so far, it’s hard to get a spot for the Melbourne Stars while we’re so good.

“And we’ve been so good in this competition.”

The Stars’ squad still boasts a strong pace attack, including the competition’s leading wicket-taker Jackson Bird, Sri Lankan star Lasith Malinga, John Hastings and Faulkner.

Faulkner and Stars teammate Glenn Maxwell are also in Australia’s ODI squad, meaning the clash with the Strikers could be the last time the Stars are at full strength.

Having dominated their first four games, Faulkner said it was important to continue that form against Adelaide.

The fourth-placed Strikers sustained their first loss of the season, against the Sydney Sixers, on Sunday night, but will climb to second spot if they upset the Stars.

Last night, Brisbane Heat gave themselves a chance to repeat last season’s late charge to Big Bash League glory by snapping their three-match losing streak and increasing Sydney Thunder’s misery.

Facing a must-win situation, Brisbane scored 5-165 and then bowled out the Thunder for 117 in the 18th over to win by 48 runs at ANZ Stadium.

The result improved Brisbane’s record to 2-3 and condemned the Thunder to an 18th straight loss.

Defending champions Brisbane also started last season with three losses in their last four games before commencing a charge that carried them all the way to the title.

Big-hitting Chris Lynn (56 off 35 balls) rescued Brisbane after Heat limped to 3-56 off 11 overs.

Thunder couldn’t get close to the long hitting of the Heat batters, who clubbed 13 sixes, most of them over the short straight boundaries.

Long-suffering Thunder supporters watched a depressingly familiar situation recur, as captain Michael Hussey (60 off 37 balls) played another lone hand.

The champion left-hander notched his third half-century in as many home games and struck Thunder’s only two sixes before his dismissal triggered a massive collapse.

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