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Rauf hat-trick leads six-wicket rout of Sydney Thunder
Big Bash League

Rauf hat-trick leads six-wicket rout of Sydney Thunder

Haris Rauf starred with a sparkling hat-trick in the Big Bash League clash against Sydney Thunder as Melbourne Stars cruised to a comfortable six-wicket win.

Hours after Rashid Khan registered the first hat-trick of this year's edition of the BBL, Rauf snared three wickets in a row matching the Afghanistan leg-spinner's special feat.

The Lahore Qalandars paceman, returning to the side in the place of veteran seamer Dale Steyn, wreaked havoc in the final over of the Thunder innings and returned exceptional figures of 3-23 in his four overs.

Rauf superbly spearheaded the Stars' bowling charge as his tight lines gave little room to the Thunder batsmen to free their arms in the death overs.

He first dismissed the set batsman Matthew Gilkes (41) with a clever change of pace inducing a mistimed leg-side flick that was pouched by Sandeep Lamichhane at deep fine leg.

Rauf then clattered the stumps of Callum Ferguson (35) with a supreme slower off-cutter and later darted in a rapid delivery that struck the front pad of Daniel Sams on the hat-trick ball.

Although the ball seemed to be marginally evading the wicket, the umpire raised his finger upon the vociferous appeal from Rauf making him the first Melbourne Stars player to take a hat-trick in BBL history.

Rauf's heroics in the last over was the culmination of a disciplined bowling effort from the home side as the Thunder rarely found fluency with the bat.

The opening duo of Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales failed to regularly slam boundaries despite staying at the crease for more than eight overs.

They finished with an ordinary total of 145-5 in their 20 overs, eventually proving to be insufficient in the face of regal knocks from Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.

No bowler from the Thunder was able to exert pressure consistently for long durations paving the way for a straightforward chase for the hosts.

Stoinis was dismissed soon after reaching his third consecutive half-century of the tournament while Maxwell upped the ante with a flurry of boundaries in the final stages of the match.

He finished the game in style with an elegant drive through extra cover, racking up a 37-ball 59 laced with eight fours and a six.

Rauf was bestowed with the man of the match prize for his stellar bowling display.

From being part of Tasmanian grade cricket last month to now making a major impact in the BBL, Rauf's prompt rise is a huge boost to his nascent career.