Maxwell’s astonishing BBL accusation
Stars captain Glenn Maxwell has incredibly twisted the focus of his team's Big Bash grand final post-mortem towards his opening batsmen - the only two players to get runs.
A shattered Maxwell denied the Melbourne Stars folded under pressure, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the BBL final against the Melbourne Renegades.
The Stars had been cruising to a maiden BBL title at 0-93 in the 13th over on Sunday at Marvel Stadium, chasing a modest target of 146 runs. But in a stunning capitulation, Melbourne's green team lost 7-19 to fall 13 runs short.
The Stars were in the box seat when they restricted the Renegades to 5-145 from their 20 overs after winning the toss, but Maxwell (1), Peter Handscomb (0) and Dwayne Bravo (3) were all part of the horror collapse.
Instead of criticising the collapse he was involved in, Maxwell made the extraordinary accusation after the match that openers Ben Dunk (57 from 45) and Marcus Stoinis (39 from 38) should have broken the Renegades' backs instead of playing it safe with their moderate run rate.
"We probably needed to kill the game earlier," Maxwell said.
"Go a bit harder at the start while the ball was hard and just get ahead of the rate.
"They bowled pretty well and kept us around 7.5 an over and as soon as you lose a wicket that can really sky-rocket. That's probably the way we would have gone about it bowling. We wouldn't have been too concerned with a team being none down. Especially as we didn't really get away at any stage.
"I think with the way the game was going, the way they were throwing the ball into the ground, getting the ball soft it was going to be harder for a new batter to start. You could sort of feel that on the boundary.
"I think those 10 overs, we batted beautifully, but I think we probably could have gone a bit harder knowing what we had behind us. You can kill the game in the Powerplay when you're only chasing 145. None for 36 is great, we had 10 wickets in hand but you probably needed to go a bit harder. That's all in hindsight."
Maxwell rejects claims that the Stars simply didn't handle the pressure when it counted most.
He refused to acknowledge the term "choke" that was used so widely in the aftermath of his team's collapse.
"I wouldn't say that... I thought it was more the conditions and probably being more aware of when we had to score runs," Maxwell told reporters.
"They bowled very well - they just kept themselves in the game. Unfortunately, we just couldn't have a batter come in and do the job.
"It seemed like every time someone took a risk, they got out, but that can happen."
The loss is a gut-wrenching end to a campaign of many positives for the Stars, who finished BBL07 on the bottom of the ladder.
Maxwell earned plaudits for his captaincy, Ben Dunk found some form at the top of the order, Marcus Stoinis continued to elevate his game and spinner Sandeep Lamichhane showed he had a great future ahead of him.
"This will probably drive us next year... we'll use it as motivation to go one step further," Maxwell said.
"We were so close ... with eight overs to go, we probably looked like we were winners.
"To fall that short is disappointing. It's hard to take right now, but once the dust settles, we'll get back into it next year."
Maxwell won't have much time to stew over the loss as he flies out on Monday with the Australian ODI squad for the tour of India.
- with AAP