Pietersen unloads as Stars snap BBL drought

Kevin Pietersen has delivered a vintage performance with the bat and in the field to lead Melbourne Stars to a 23-run win over Melbourne Renegades and their first victory of the Big Bash season.

Kevin Pietersen has top-scored for Melbourne Stars and helped set the Renegades 168 to win.

Kevin Pietersen has top-scored for Melbourne Stars and helped set the Renegades 168 to win.

Pietersen smashed five sixes on his way to 74 off 46 balls, combining with Peter Handscomb (41) for a 110-run partnership as the Stars posted 4-167 at Etihad Stadium.

He then wound back the clock with a brilliant diving catch at short extra cover to dismiss Tom Cooper as the Stars held their cross-town rivals to 9-144 from their 20 overs.

Also proving a gun in the field was Glenn Maxwell, with the ousted Australian representative taking four catches after an important 31 not out from 16 balls with the bat.

The 37-year-old Pietersen is set to retire later this year and has confirmed this will be his final BBL campaign.

But the former England superstar showed he's still a force to be reckoned with, belting Renegades spinner Brad Hogg into the second tier on consecutive deliveries.

An attempt to again clear mid-on proved to be his undoing when he was caught by Matt Short on the boundary off Sam Wildermuth's bowling.

It was a welcome return to form for Pietersen but it's yet to be seen whether it will come too late for the bottom-placed Stars, who arrived at Etihad Stadium winless from five games.

Speaking after the game, Handscomb insisted a seventh straight finals berth could still be within reach.

"There's no reason why not," Handscomb said.

"I think a few years ago we had to win five in a row to make the semis. We've got to do it this time as well. Cricket's a funny game, you never know."

With Aaron Finch and Cameron White on Australian ODI duty and Brad Hodge a late withdrawal after suffering a side strain, the Renegades were unable to overcome their loss of experience.

Top scorer Dwayne Bravo (26) looked in threatening touch, smashing James Faulkner for a monster six over deep backward point.

But Evan Gulbis soon lured him into a false shot and the Renegades tail put up little resistance.

It was also a poor performance in the field by the Renegades with Bravo and Mohammad Nabi both dropping catches.

"KP's innings was pretty vital," Renegades opener Tim Ludeman said.

"Obviously he struck it pretty clean, and he got hold of our spinners which not many other teams have done."

The Stars' maiden victory was particularly impressive given the absence of Australian one-day international representatives Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis.

Maxwell, who was controversially left out of the ODI squad, helped drive the Stars innings late, and one of his four catches was a brilliant juggling grab to dismiss Ludeman.

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