Pietersen inspires Stars to final

Kevin Pietersen hits out against Perth Scorchers

Kevin Pietersen helped the Stars to the final after they lost four previous semi-finals

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen fired 62 from 36 balls as Melbourne Stars reached the final of the Big Bash League for the first time.

Pietersen, 35, who has signed a new two-year contract with the team, hit five fours and two sixes.

He was out with 12 still needed but the Stars, including Sussex captain Luke Wright, sealed a seven-wicket win over Perth Scorchers with 11 balls left.

The Stars will face Sydney Thunder in Sunday’s Big Bash League final.

The final will feature the Hussey brothers, Mike and David, as opposing captains, with Sydney skipper Mike Hussey, 40, playing his final competitive match in Australia.

It was Pietersen’s third half-century in eight innings in this year’s competition. He has scored 249 runs at an average of 35, with a strike rate of 151.

England one-day bowler David Willey involved Pietersen in some verbal exchanges but was flicked nonchalantly over backward square-leg for six by the South African-born batsman, who was told last summer that he was not part of England’s future plans.

Australia batsman Usman Khawaja made an unbeaten century to help Thunder to reach the final with an eight-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers at the Adelaide Oval.

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