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Dropped Maxwell makes statement as Strikers go top

Cricket

The Adelaide Strikers have returned to the top of the BBL table and extended the Melbourne Stars’ winless streak with an eight-wicket victory at Adelaide Oval.

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Keeper Alex Carey (59 not out) and captain Travis Head (53) underpinned the Strikers’ well-timed chase of 152, which they achieved with eight balls to spare.

Head was the aggressor while Carey largely played sheet anchor, neither men panicking when the required rate started to rise.

Carey slog-swept Adam Zampa for six for the win with Colin Ingram (15 not out) fortunate to be at the other end.

Ingram was reprieved twice late, Jackson Coleman misjudging a running catch after Glenn Maxwell grassed an absolute sitter in the outer.

Maxwell’s blemish ruined an otherwise neat display from the ‘Big Show’ after he had conjured the Stars’ first breakthrough when he had Jake Weatherald stumped for 18 after earlier starring with the bat.

His blistering 60 placed his name firmly in the gaze of the national selectors and piloted the Stars to 6-151.

Arriving at the crease at 3-34, Maxwell’s electric knock boosted his prospects of an international recall for the upcoming one-day series against England starting on Sunday.

Maxwell’s dig had everything – powerful heaves, deft placement, trick reverse swats and an apparent nick to the keeper that no Striker appealed for.

Maxwell refuted suggestions of a rift with Steve Smith and intends to catch up with the Australia captain to address comments made about his omission from the one-day squad to face England.

Smith last week publicly criticised Maxwell’s training standards and implored the Victorian to ditch the ‘funky’ stuff when explaining the non-selection.

Headlining a group of middle-order contenders to replace the injured Chris Lynn (calf), Maxwell’s exhilarating 60 strengthened his claims – though whether his knock will be enough for him to earn a recall to the national team remains to be seen.

“I’ll address that (Smith’s comments) with Steven personally,” Maxwell said.

“I’ll sit down with Steve when he gets to Melbourne and have a chat with him.

“We get along really well, we’ve got a good friendship.

“He’s only trying to get the best out of me as the Australian skipper – there’s not much you can say to the guy who’s second-best to the Don.

“I’ll listen to him and do my best to get on his right side and do everything I can to play for Australia.”

Victorious Strikers captain and Australian squad member Head said he knew Maxwell was disappointed at being overlooked.

“I played golf with him in the morning so I know he’s disappointed,” said Head, whose explosive 53 steered the Strikers to safety.

“He’s not in at the minute. We’ll have to see what happens.

“He batted beautifully … he was looking dangerous and it was nice to get him out with a couple of overs to spare.

“He showed tonight how high-quality he is.”

Marcus Stoinis stroked a fluent 39 while Kevin Pietersen made a bizarre five, almost run out twice, luckily escaping an lbw shout and finally having his stumps scattered when he backed away and missed a wild slog off a Billy Stanlake thunderbolt.

Head was rapt to sign off on his BBL campaign with his best individual performance of the season.

“It was nice to get a good personal score and get us over the line in my last game,” said Head, who will join the Australian one-day side in Melbourne.

“It was nice to accelerate through the middle and get close enough to make it easier at the end.”

Despite the result, Maxwell believes the Stars have made ground but some expensive overs with the ball hurt their cause.

“We were a lot better and that’s probably why it hurts so much,” he said.

“I thought we executed reasonably well for the first 10-11 overs but there were a couple of overs that went for too many.

“It was disappointing to be on the losing side but we’ve made improvements.”

-AAP

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