Big Bash League: Sydney Thunder win despite Kevin Pietersen's 74

Usman Khawaja bats
Usman Khawaja finished the tournament with 345 runs at an average of 172.50

Sydney Thunder beat Melbourne Stars by three wickets to win their first Big Bash League title, despite Kevin Pietersen's innings of 74.

The ex-England batsman hit five sixes and four fours in his 39-ball 74 as the Stars posted 176-9 from their 20 overs.

Usman Khawaja then hit 70 off 40 balls in reply as Thunder cruised to 91-1 at the halfway point.

And despite a late flurry of wickets, Ben Rohrer's six secured victory for Thunder with three balls to spare.

The win completes a remarkable turnaround for the New South Wales franchise, who had finished bottom in three of the previous four editions of the Big Bash, with only five wins from 31 matches in that time.

Ex-Australia batsman Mike Hussey, 40, made 18 for Thunder in his final innings in Australia - captaining opposite his brother David, the Stars skipper.

Pietersen's innings ensured he finished the tournament as the third highest run-scorer, with 323 runs at an average of 40.37 and a strike rate of 159.11, but he seems almost certain to remain in international exile when England go to the World Twenty20 in India in March.

However, leg-spinner Adil Rashid enhanced his chances of making the England squad after he was named runner-up in the voting for player of the tournament, having taken 16 wickets for Adelaide Strikers.

Earlier, Sydney Thunder also won the inaugural Women's Big Bash League with a three-wicket win over city rivals Sydney Sixers.

Big Bash League history
YearWinnersRunners-up
2011-12Sydney SixersPerth Scorchers
2012-13Brisbane HeatPerth Scorchers
2013-14Perth ScorchersHobart Hurricanes
2014-15Perth ScorchersSydney Sixers
2015-16Sydney ThunderMelbourne Stars

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