Hilton Cartwright provided the fireworks as Melbourne Stars set Sydney Sixers 178 for victory in their must-win BBL match.
Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell top-scored with 66 from 41 balls at the MCG on Tuesday night, smashing nine fours and a six in an innings that featured an array of entertaining and inventive shots.
He did the bulk of the scoring during the power surge as the Stars took 29 runs from Sean Abbott and Carlos Brathwaite.
Cartwright (38 off 19) took the reins late in the innings and blasted three sixes from the final four deliveries bowled by Jake Ball (0-38) as the Stars posted 6-177.
Cartwright saved his best for last when he whipped a low full-toss off leg stump and sent it into the second tier of the Olympic Stand.
Ben Dwarshuis (3-27) and fellow quick Abbott (2-28) both bowled well, while left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe (0-21) was impressive in four overs on his return to the side.
The match is a virtual elimination final for the Stars, who need to win and also claim the bonus point in order to snatch fifth spot from Adelaide Strikers.
Anything less will see the runners-up from the last two years miss out on the finals.
The Sixers are chasing at least a bonus point – or a victory – that would see them earn home field advantage for their ‘qualifier’ final against Perth Scorchers.
They need to better the Stars’ 3-72 from 10 overs to snare the bonus point.