The Stars finished top of the table but suffered three straight defeats at the end of the regular season, while the Sixers – who will now get to host the final – won as many on the spin heading into the match.
It was a contest that followed the form book, with Steve O’Keefe (2-22), Sean Abbott (3-23) and Josh Hazlewood (2-14) impressing, while Nathan Lyon and Ben Dwarshuis each took a wicket.
Only three Stars batsmen made double figures at the MCG in a poor chase in reply to the Sixers’ 142-7, which looked well under par with Josh Philippe’s 34 the highest knock of a low-scoring affair.
The Stars, whose score represents their lowest in the BBL, have another chance to make the final and will meet the winners of Saturday’s match between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder.
STARS INITIALLY STEM SIXERS
What will disappoint the hosts the most is how they failed to build on an excellent showing in the field.
Philippe found the boundary four times before being caught-and-bowled by Haris Rauf an over after opening partner James Vince (12) fell to the impressive Adam Zampa (3-21).
Moises Henriques and Steve Smith put on 40 for the third wicket before the latter was given caught behind off Zampa despite believing he had not hit the ball.
From there the Sixers failed to build any partnerships of note. It meant a huge effort would be needed with the ball…
MELBOURNE LEFT SEEING STARS
Things started badly for Melbourne with Marcus Stoinis (5), Nick Larkin (4) and Peter Handscomb (4) falling inside five overs.
It did not get any better for the home side as Nic Maddinson (16) top-edged to short third man and the gleeful hands of O’Keefe, who quickly came to the fore.
O’Keefe first forced Seb Gotch to drag on before snaring the huge wicket of Glenn Maxwell (16), who was too straight with his attempt to clear long-off.
The wickets then fell with regularity and Daniel Worrall and Rauf fell off consecutive deliveries from Abbott to wrap up the win with 12 balls to spare.
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