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Jasper Bruce

Burns hurt as Stars set Thunder 123 to win

Sydney Thunder's Fazalhaq Farooqi (l) and Gurinder Sandhu (r) took four scalps in the Stars' 8-122. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

A hamstring injury to Joe Burns and a first-ball duck to Marcus Stoinis have underscored a nightmare first innings of the summer for the Melbourne Stars, who set the Sydney Thunder a target of only 123 in the BBL season opener.

Burns and Stoinis both tested positive to COVID-19 on game day but were able to play at Manuka Oval in accordance with relaxed COVID rules introduced this summer.

But the pair's back-to-back exits spelled the beginning of the end for the Stars' batting order (8-122), who were sent in after the Thunder won the toss.

Burns pulled up sore running between wickets in the sixth over and, with BBL rules no longer permitting runners, originally made the call to stay out in the middle rather than retire hurt. But he was unable to walk the injury off and began preventing partner Nick Larkin from playing for singles.

The former Test star retired hurt on 18 at the end of the eighth over but his successor, Stoinis, could not ignite the Stars' innings.

Melbourne Stars allrounder Marcus Stoinis will play the BBL opener despite being COVID-19 positive. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The Australian international attempted to slog sweep Chris Green first ball but misjudged the shot and was caught by Thunder recruit Fazalhaq Farooqi at short fine leg.

It was BBL debutant Farooqi (2-20 from four overs) who finished as the pick of the Thunder's bowlers.

After going through his kitbag in his first two overs, the Afghan paceman dispatched Hilton Cartwright (12) and Larkin (25) in the space of three balls, the latter just as he was starting to breathe life into the Stars' innings.

The two wickets consigned the Stars to 2-5 from their power surge and looked at risk of being bowled out when 5-84.

From the beginning of the 12th over, the Stars hit only two boundaries as Daniel Sams (2-21) and Green (1-19) returned economical figures from their four overs.

The innings brought back memories of the Stars' woeful start to last summer, when they were rolled for 61 by the Sydney Sixers in the first match of the tournament.

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