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- Australian Cricketer
Glenn Maxwell has burst back to form and paced the Melbourne Stars to a crucial Big Bash League derby win over the Renegades.
The Stars cruised to a six-wicket win in 14.3 overs on Thursday night under the Marvel Stadium roof as Maxwell opened and belted an unbeaten 68 from 45 balls.
It elevated the Stars from bottom to fifth on the ladder and put them back in the finals hunt with three games left, while the Renegades are last and in danger of their third-successive wooden spoon.
Maxwell had only managed 30 runs from his last five BBL innings and was also sidelined after contracting COVID-19.
After a quiet return in the loss to the Perth Scorchers on Tuesday, Maxwell took over the captaincy against the Renegades and led from the front.
It was also a big win for the Stars, who were decimated by COVID-19 and lost to the Renegades earlier this month when they were forced to field an understrength team.
Maxwell said in the wake of his illness, he was "cooked" by the end of Thursday's match.
"There were a lot of emotions - we've had a pretty tough time over the last two weeks," Maxwell said.
"We still feel like we're a chance to play in these finals and still have a big say in who wins this trophy.
"We hope we can be holding the trophy at the end of the tournament.
"I'm pretty cooked, the last week certainly took it out of me."
After winning the bat flip, the Renegades again struggled with the bat and only managed 7-122.
The Stars lost two quick wickets, but cruised to 4-123 and Maxwell brought up the win with his eighth boundary.
It was Maxwell's 18th BBL half-century and his innings also featured a six.
In his last BBL game this season before he returns to Pakistan, opening bowler Haris Rauf set the tone for the Stars.
The paceman snared two wickets in the second over of the innings and then took a catch as the Renegades were reduced to 3-25.
Rauf, who has been recalled by his Pakistan Super League team the Lahore Qalandars, briefly had to leave the field because of a sore leg.
But he returned and bowled out his overs, taking 2-28.
A 51-run stand between Jake Fraser-McGurk and Aaron Finch steadied the Renegades innings, but they were unable to mount a late charge.
Fraser-McGuirk made 32 and Finch was filthy on himself after Brody Couch bowled him in the second-last over for 45.
Finch batted at No.5, a rare appearance for him so low in the order
His dismissal ended any hopes the Renegades had of posting a reasonable score.
They needed a massive effort in the field and there was a glimmer of hope when they reduced the Stars to 2-15 in the second over.
But Maxwell was imperious and when the Renegades could not dismiss him their fate was sealed.
The Stars could not consider Marcus Stoinis (back) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (hamstring) for the match.