Spiceman brings the heat as Stars sizzle at the ‘G

The Melbourne Stars' faith in Andre Fletcher, also known as "The Spiceman", was rewarded at their return to the MCG on Friday night, with the West Indian opener smashing 89 runs off 49 balls.

Fletcher had failed to fire all season for the Stars but managed to hold his spot in Melbourne's struggling line-up. That call is now justified, with his powerful innings lighting up the night and guiding his side to just their second win of their past seven outings.

Andre Fletcher goes on the attack for the Melbourne Stars.Credit:Getty Images

The 33-year-old passed 20 for the first time in the tournament and then accelerated through the innings, hitting eight fours and four sixes.

His opening partner Marcus Stoinis struggled in his dig, never getting out of first gear or into any fluency. He eventually was caught for 13 off 26 balls.

The slow start meant the Stars were 1-57 by the 10-over mark, but with Glenn Maxwell coming in at No.3 he was able to help accelerate the run rate.

Maxwell had been out first ball in his two previous innings so was no doubt keen to avoid a hat-trick of golden ducks.

He smashed 37 off 28 balls and looked to be in superb touch and set for a big score, but he was caught at deep mid-on in the 15th over.

That brought Hilton Cartwight to the crease and he proved a great finishing partner for Fletcher, scoring 30 off 17.

The pair hit 18 off the 17th over, 15 from the 18th (the Power Surge) and then 18 and 16 from the final two overs.

Maxwell decided to start with six of the first seven overs using spin, given rain was threatening to hit the MCG, and it paid off with Zahir Khan getting a wicket in the second over and Maxwell himself claiming one in the third.

Khan got Phil Salt when the Strikers batter tried to switch-hit the spinner, only to instead feather it to the wicketkeeper Seb Gotch.

Maxwell got another breakthrough quickly, his opposite captain Alex Carey, when the Australian one-day international keeper went the slog, only to be bowled through the gate.

By the end of the seventh over the required run rate for the Strikers had ballooned to nearly 12 an over, with the score at 2-26.

Adam Zampa looked to have injured his shoulder significantly while saving a boundary in the ninth over, but he managed to get himself to a point where he could bowl the next one.

He did, and picked up the wicket of Matthew Renshaw for 20 off 23, getting him caught in the deep with a wrong 'un.

Zampa then left the field sparking fears the injury was worse than first though. But the spinner put those concerns to bed when he emerged to bowl again, taking the wicket of Jake Weatherald lbw for 10 off nine balls.

Zampa finished with figures of 5-17 as the Strikers were all out for just 68.

The Stars next play in the Melbourne derby against the struggling Renegades Sunday night at Marvel Stadium.

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