|| AFP ||
Big-hitting New Zealander Colin Munro slammed an unbeaten 99 to help steer Brisbane Heat to a 103-run thrashing of Glenn Maxwell's Melbourne Stars Thursday on the opening day of Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash League.
Stars skipper Maxwell won the bat flip and opted to field in front of 20,000 fans at the Gabba, but could only watch as Munro unleashed five sixes and nine fours in his 61-ball blitz.
The 36-year-old opener was dropped on 58 in the deep by Tom Rogers, who looked to have taken the catch only for the ball to spill from his hands as he hit the ground.
To make matters worse, Munro hit a six off the next ball from a Maxwell over that cost 22 runs.
He ran out of time to get his century, ending on 99, with Australian Test stars Marnus Labuschagne (30 off 23) and Usman Khawaja (28 off 19) contributing to their 214-3.
The Stars's run chase started badly, with fast bowler Michael Neser removing openers Sam Harper and Rogers in the first over.
World Cup winner Maxwell came in at three and scored a brisk 23 before he was out to the spin of Mitchell Swepson, having received treatment on his right forearm.
Marcus Stoinis followed him back to the pavilion four balls later as they slumped to 54-4 in the seventh over and never looked like challenging Heat's total.
They were dismissed for 111 in the 16th over with Swepson claiming 3-23 and Neser 2-30.
"From the onset, I thought we came out with the bat beautifully. Munners (Munro) batted beautifully, I mean he made it look so easy out there," said Heat skipper Khawaja.
"When you get a start like that, it's really hard (for the opposition) to reel it back in."
It was the Stars's fifth defeat in a row stretching back to last season.
The win opened the 13th edition of the eight-team tournament, with Perth Scorchers red-hot favourites to win a third straight title after beating Heat in last season's final.
They begin their defence in Geelong against Aaron Finch's Melbourne Renegades on Sunday.
A four-game finals series will lead into the decider on January 24.