CRICKET BBL STARS RENEGADES
The ladder-leading Stars have won the battle of Melbourne, thumping the winless Renegades by eight wickets in their BBL derby at the MCG.
In a rematch of last season's thrilling all-Melbourne final, the Stars easily brought up their fifth victory of the season on Saturday night after sending their struggling rivals in to bat.
Set a meagre 143 runs to win, Stars opener Marcus Stoinis was the instigator in blasting the Renegades' attack during the first three overs to ensure the rest of the chase was stress-free.
The Stars wrapped up the win with seven balls to spare and Stoinis still at the crease, as he combined brilliantly with Glenn Maxwell (40no) in front of 54,478 fans.
Batting with one of the MCG's light towers not working, Stoinis (68no) regained the golden cap as the BBL's leading run-scorer from Sydney Thunder batsman Callum Ferguson.
As defending BBL champions, the Renegades slumped to a sixth-straight defeat after a shocking collapse in the back end of their innings.
After a solid, if uninspiring, start, the Renegades lost 5-8 from 2-117 as the Stars' legspinners wreaked havoc.
Adam Zampa (2-19) and Sandeep Lamichhane (3-26) kept it tight and struck with vital wickets as the Renegades' innings began to fall apart when Shaun Marsh was dismissed.
The veteran left-hander failed to convert a promising start, as Stars batsman Ben Dunk spectacularly threw the ball back into the field of play at long-on to Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Aaron Finch's frustrating campaign continued after being bowled for 25 at a crucial time by Zampa, just as the Renegades' captain was building a partnership with Marsh.
Two balls after smashing a six, the Australian limited-overs opener tried to do it again in the same spot and his stumps were rattled.
Zampa said it was important the Stars built on their imposing start to the season.
"I'm not surprised by the start, I think we've got a really good team," Zampa said.
"We're going to be in a pretty strong position going into the finals."
Beau Webster (29) was the only other Renegade to threaten to build a big score.
South African pace legend Dale Steyn impressed with 2-16 - and a cheeky run-out - in his last BBL game for the Stars before he travels home for international white-ball duties against England.
His departure means Pakistani quick Haris Rauf is a certainty to return for the Stars' next match, after being dropped for the derby despite claiming 10 wickets in three matches.
Renegades coach Michael Klinger said his team had to find a way to perform more consistently.
"Guys individually, and as a group, are just not at our best and there's no excuses for that," he said.
"If you asked me a few weeks ago and said that we would be 0-6, it is not what I would've expected."
The teams observed a moment's silence for bushfire victims before taking to the field and all planned fireworks during the match were cancelled as a mark of respect.