Glenn Maxwell's ideal spot in the batting order continues to prove a divisive topic, with Melbourne Stars coach David Hussey keen to keep BBL rivals guessing after a shock loss to Sydney Sixers.
The Stars' eight-match winning streak ended at the SCG on Monday night, when they were set a challenging target of 147 from 14 overs in the rain-affected clash.
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Marcus Stoinis gave the title favourites hope, slapping 62 off 37 balls, but the escalating required run-rate ultimately proved too big an ask.
Mark Waugh was among many commentators to question why Maxwell batted at No.4 below Nic Maddinson, suggesting it reflected the experimental approach of a side that had already secured top spot.
The skipper entered the fray when the victory equation was 62 runs off 26 balls, while it was 112 runs from 10.5 overs when Maddinson arrived at the crease.
"Maxi is probably the best T20 player in the world at the minute, isn't he? Unfortunately he probably didn't get the right number of balls to execute the chase," Hussey told reporters.
"It's not the end of the world for Glenn to have a night off with the bat.
"But you like to have your best players facing the most balls in every game. Unfortunately I probably got it wrong."
Why was Maxwell left so late?
Maxwell, who scored 12 from 13 deliveries as national selectors mulled whether to recall him to the ODI squad, was unable to conjure any miracles in the 21-run defeat.
Hussey wouldn't be drawn on whether Maxwell would be elevated to first drop come the finals.
"You never know with Glenn. Anything can happen with the Stars," he said.
"When I was playing we were very, very structured and I think that was to our detriment.
"We'll try to be unpredictable yet have our specific roles.
"Maddo's probably been our No.3 for the last couple of games and we desperately need him to get into some form come finals ... if he does get another opportunity like tonight, I'm sure he will take it with both hands."
It isn't the first time there has been debate over Maxwell's best fit.
Steve Smith slammed Maxwell for "very disrespectful" comments in 2016, when the excitement machine said it was "painful" to be batting below Matthew Wade in Victoria's Sheffield Shield side.
In 2018, Maxwell's demotion to No.7 in Australia's one-day team prompted Allan Border to suggest the star batsman was "wasted" in that spot.
The Stars’ decision to keep him on the bench for so long on Monday night stunned commentators and fans.
Maxwell not batting 3 here is... hard to fathom #BBL09— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) January 20, 2020
Maddinson is doing a mini Bancroft so far. Every ball Maxwell isn't out there is really a waste #BBL09— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) January 20, 2020
Ian Chappell has said it for ages... When will we see a team retire a batsman to get a stronger hitter to the crease? #BBL09— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) January 20, 2020
Baffling....— Michael Owen (@michaelowen256) January 20, 2020
Not sending Glenn Maxwell in at No.3 in a shortened T20 game is incomprehensible and a sackable offence. #BBL09— Alex Zaia (@zaiaalex) January 20, 2020
Glenn Maxwell batting four when chasing 10.5 an over in a 14 over game... that Maddinson innings is the prime example of where you should retire a batsman out as a coach— Bastie (@bastie35) January 20, 2020
It’s been said plenty this season, but Glenn Maxwell’s batting order choices are truly bizarre. Surely in a 14 over game he gets himself out there at first drop. #BBL09— The Castlemaine Courier (@brewhousesports) January 20, 2020
There’s been some bizarre cricket decisions this week but that one is right up there.— thecheese01 (@thecheese01) January 20, 2020