Pakistan pace sensation Haris Rauf has been described as an “entertainment machine” by Melbourne Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell.
Rauf is set to return from international duty and hand Melbourne a timely boost ahead of their clash with Sydney Sixers on Friday.
The winner will be handed a place in the final of the tournament. The loser will have to contest a second semi-final as part of the BBL’s new play-off system.
Melbourne topped the group stage table but have lost their last three games. It makes for an even-looking affair as the Stars welcome the Sixers to the MCG.
Both teams can be backed at 1.91 (10/11) with bet365 to make the final.
Maxwell pleased to have Rauf back in the mix
Melbourne captain Maxwell is full of praise for the impact Rauf has made in BBL09.
The 26-year-old bowler has looked dangerous throughout the tournament and claimed a memorable hat-trick against Sydney Thunder earlier this month.
His form also saw him rewarded with a call-up to Pakistan’s T20 squad for the series against Bangladesh.
“There’s no limit to what he can do. He’s an absolute superstar,” Maxwell told Melbourne radio station SEN.
“We probably didn’t get as much out of him as we could have. With a slight language barrier, you can sometimes miss a few things, but he still performed unbelievably well.
Rauf is the story of the BBL
Maxwell added: “He got a truckload of wickets in a short amount of time, and for a while there he was second on the wicket-taking list and had played half the games everyone else had played. That was just the impact he had on the tournament.
“He’s an absolute entertainment machine and people love coming to watch that.
“The story of him coming from club cricket into Pakistan eyes was absolutely outstanding and was the story of the BBL tournament for me.”
Rauf’s return is a big boost for the Stars. They are already having to make do without the injured Hilton Cartwright and Nepalese leg-spinner Lamicchane, who is away on international.
Stars coach David Hussey said: “We are thrilled that Haris was given the opportunity to represent his country for the first time
“It’s been a life-changing couple of months for him and he’s been a great recruit for us at the Stars.”