Angry Warne sprays Melbourne Stars mates
Peter Handscomb is adamant there is "absolutely no complacency" in the Melbourne Stars camp following Wednesday's 11-run loss to the Adelaide Strikers.
The Stars (10-3) are assured top spot on the ladder in the Big Bash League (BBL) and a double-chance in the finals but have endured back-to-back defeats this week to the Strikers and Sydney Sixers.
Those results raised suspicions the Stars have eased their foot off the gas and ex-Stars captain Shane Warne, a proud Victorian, criticised his former franchise for their effort against the Strikers.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime with KAYO on your TV, mobile, tablet or laptop. Just $25/month with no lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial >
Very ordinary chase that from the Melb Stars tonight in the #BBL ! Left it way to late & there’s been way to much flirting of form in the last few games. Not the time to experiment with batting orders etc. Get back to the basics please boys & stop complicating it all !— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) January 22, 2020
But Handscomb isn't concerned, saying he wants his team to bounce back against Brisbane Heat at the MCG on Saturday and hit the finals running.
"There's absolutely no complacency setting in," said Handscomb, who thumped an unbeaten 65 while filling in as Stars captain at Adelaide Oval.
"Our focus is on winning and taking that momentum into the finals.
"I don't think we want to change too much."
Wednesday's loss was the Stars' second in as many starts against the Strikers, but Handscomb puts it down to Twenty20's fickle nature.
"It's a funny game, T20 cricket," the 16-Test batsman said.
"They've played really well against us and it might be the match-ups or we just haven't played our best cricket against them on the day for whatever reason.
"You can't read too much into it going forward because it is a fickle game."
Leading into the Heat clash and the finals campaign, the Stars will be sweating on the fitness of opener Hilton Cartwright, who was a late withdrawal for the Strikers clash after injuring his hand during warm-ups.
Handscomb was unclear of the seriousness of the injury but will know more later today.
"No idea," he said.
"I'm not a physio, doctor or the coach so I don't get told any of that. "I think he's getting scanned today (Thursday)."
Former Test paceman Peter Siddle picked up career-best BBL figures of 4/33 and held his nerve in the face of some last-ditch pyrotechnics from Handscomb as the Strikers, defending 4/162, held the Stars to 8/151 in Adelaide.
With their third successive win and second from as many matches against the Stars, Adelaide boosted their chances of securing the double-chance, leapfrogging the Sydney Sixers on the table.
Handscomb batted magnificently but lacked support after the Stars slumped to 2/26 when they lost both openers in the powerplay.
Phil Salt took a magnificent running outfield catch to send tournament leading run-scorer Marcus Stoinis (five) packing before fellow opener Nic Maddinson (seven) was skittled by Rashid Khan.
When Nick Larkin and the dangerous Glenn Maxwell both departed for 19 the visitors were 4/63.
With 53 still required off the last three overs, the Stars needed a miracle - which the valiant Handscomb very nearly provided.
"We saw in their (Adelaide) innings, they back-ended it really well and I thought we could potentially do the same," Handscomb said.
"I was backing us in to get close, which we did, but we left our run a bit late."
Earlier, the Strikers were floundering at 3/57 at the halfway stage as the Stars employed spin for all but five overs before late-innings specialist Jon Wells came to the rescue with an unbeaten 55 from 36 deliveries.
With his fourth half-century of the summer, player-of-the-match Wells lifted his season aggregate to 406 runs at 81.20.
He combined with Matt Short (23 not out) for a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket for the Strikers who crucially slugged 105 from their last 10 overs.
Left-arm tweaker Clint Hinchliffe bagged the Strikers' three big guns - Alex Carey (33), Jake Weatherald (15) and Travis Head (five) - to record a career-best 3/19 before Wells changed the complexion of the match.
"We took wickets pretty regularly early and had them on the back foot when we got the two big wickets of Stoinis and Maxwell," Wells said. "We knew if we could do that, we'd be in a pretty good position."