Hastings may steal import KP’s thunder

Melbourne Stars import Kevin Pietersen.
Melbourne Stars import Kevin Pietersen. JOE CASTRO

All eyes will be on the 'human headline', divisive Englishman Kevin Pietersen, when the Melbourne Stars take on the Sydney Thunder at the MCG tomorrow night.

Pietersen will be on a hit-and-run mission, set to fly home on Monday for the birth of his second child before returning for the match against the Melbourne Renegades on January 2.

While Pietersen will be flying out, it's someone who regularly flies under the radar who could prove to be the thorn in the side of the Thunder, which opened its campaign with an historic victory against the Sydney Sixers on Thursday night.

John Hastings may not get the publicity Pietersen does, but he certainly gets results.

The 30-year-old tops the all-rounder category in the competition, coming in ahead of players like former Test stars Jacques Kallis and Shane Watson.

Not only was Hastings the leading wicket-taker in BBL 04 with 16 at an average of 15.37, his power with the bat can also inflict plenty of damage, striking at an incredible 172.97 last season.

One Thunder batsman in his sights will be veteran Mike Hussey.

The left-hander was one of the stars in the 36-run victory against the Sixers, the first time in eight games the Thunder got the better of its cross-town rivals.

Hussey blasted an unbeaten 80 off 59 balls as his side reached 4-158, a target that proved too much for the Sixers, who lost leading batsmen Brad Haddin for 13 and new skipper Nic Maddinson for seven.

The Sixers will have the chance to bounce back when they host the new-look Hobart Hurricanes tomorrow afternoon.

Apart from star Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara, Hobart has also signed Clive Rice from the Stars, express paceman Shaun Tait from the Strikers and Heat pair Daniel Christian and Simon Milenko.

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