Struggling captain Aaron Finch provided some fireworks but still holed out cheaply as Melbourne Renegades slumped to a six-wicket loss to the Stars in the BBL derby.
Having bowled out the Renegades for a paltry 121, the Stars - led by allrounder Marcus Stoinis - cruised to victory with four balls to spare at Marvel Stadium.
Languishing at the bottom of the ladder after losing their past three games, the Stars reaped immediate rewards from the return of Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb and Adam Zampa from Australian ODI duties.
Stoinis helped himself to an unbeaten 70 off 65 balls, having earlier taken 3-19 to spearhead a clinical Renegades bowling performance.
The victory lifts the Stars to fifth with five games to play before the finals.
"I think we're going to come storming home," Stoinis said.
"We'll be hard to stop come finals time, I reckon."
Finch's short-lived knock set the tone in a rare slip for the second-placed Renegades, who had won three of their past four games.
The 31-year-old continued his poor run of form after leading Australia to defeat in Friday's ODI decider against India.
Axed from Australia's Test squad, Finch scored just 26 runs from three ODI innings.
The Renegades skipper started positively, blasting two sixes from as many balls - the first high over long on and the second clipped off his pads - during Liam Plunkett's first over.
Hopes of a return to form were dashed when Finch sliced a Jackson Bird delivery to a running Nic Maddinson at deep point on 14.
"It's always tough defending 120 on any wicket," Finch said.
"After the first couple of overs we probably aimed for 160, 170, thinking that the wicket was probably a little bit better than it was ... you can leave yourself a few short."
The Renegades added just three runs for their first four wickets with Marcus Harris (15) falling to a stunning one-handed Dwayne Bravo catch at mid-on, Sam Harper bowled by Bird for a duck and Cameron White skittled by Stoinis.
The hosts went 32 balls without scoring a boundary before top scorer Mohammed Nabi (28) broke the drought, holing out to Zampa soon after.
Nabi handed the Renegades a dream start with the ball when he clean-bowled Ben Dunk for a golden duck with a superb legbreak.
Maxwell, who was run out for seven, and the in-form Handscomb (eight) then both fell cheaply to give the Renegades some hope.
But Stoinis dug in to ensure the result was never in doubt with Bravo's cameo 17 off nine balls steering the Stars home.
Australian Associated Press