Shane Warne faces severe disciplinary action over his eruption towards Marlon Samuels, as the Melbourne Stars admitted they had the unpopular West Indies and Melbourne Renegades batsman in their sights before the incident that has sparked a furious reaction within Cricket Australia and the Renegades.
The fallout from the clash between Warne, the Big Bash League's biggest star, and Samuels, will be known on Monday when CA details a list of charges arising from the match, in which the Renegades thrashed Warne's Stars by nine wickets before a record crowd at the MCG.
CA officials are waiting for news about the condition of Samuels, who has a suspected fractured eye-socket from top-edging a ball from Lasith Malinga through the grill of his helmet, before confirming details of a hearing, tentatively scheduled for Monday morning.
Both players are expected to face disciplinary action — Samuels for impeding David Hussey from taking a run during the Stars' innings, and later throwing his bat in Warne's direction, and Warne for verbally attacking Samuels while wired for sound by Fox Sports and making threatening gestures towards the Jamaican. The pair had to be separated by the umpires.
Hussey described the initial incident, when Samuels grabbed his shirt to block him, as "a bit of gamesmanship", but said there was a plan for the Stars bowlers to be full of aggression towards the Renegades after posting a modest target of 146.
"He [Samuels] tried to block me to prevent me from taking a two, but in hindsight it probably prevented me from running myself out, so it was probably a good thing," Hussey said after the match.
"I think we tried to be physical, have a bit of attitude out there, hit them hard with the ball. I thought Clint Mckay really did that. He bowled a couple of nice bumpers and sadly it probably did boil over a little bit too much. A home semi-final was at stake so we really needed a win."
Asked whether Samuels, whose bowling action has been publicly queried by Brisbane coach Darren Lehmann and been a constant source of ammunition for opponents, had been singled out, Hussey said: "I wouldn't have said targeted, no. Marlon doesn't seem to make too many friends all around the world. I guess he is one of their key players and I think if we actually nullify his existence throughout the game we go a long way to winning. Sadly tonight we finished second due to another great innings from [Renegades captain] Aaron Finch."
Warne pointed his finger in Samuels' face and yelled, "F*** you, Marlon," and an attempt to throw at the stumps hit the Jamaican on the body, prompting Samuels to throw his bat.
The Renegades are known to be outraged by Warne's behaviour, fuming privately that he was reacting to the Stars' poor position in the game. They believe Samuels has been under seige since Lehmann's comments, after which Adelaide coach Darren Berry was also reported for an exchange with him about the legality of his quicker ball.
Finch said Samuels had become a target for opponents and his injury would hurt the Renegades. Malinga was the only Stars player who appered concerned about his welfare as he walked from the field with blood coming from his nose, retired hurt.
"I don't know what it is [that makes him a target]," Finch said. "He is a very good player obviously and he's going to be out for the rest of the tournament with a broken eye socket or something like that. That is not ideal for him or us.
"I don't know what kicked that off to be honest. Warnie was talking about holding the man, I thought he was playing footy or something.
"I didn't notice anything [of the hussey incident]... At the non-striker's end they were in pretty close talking to him and they were all over him but I don't really know what happened there. I just saw the aftermath of it which probably didn't look good."
Stars coach Greg Shipperd denied any knowledge of what was behind the events that unfolded before a crowd of 46,581 - a record for a domestic Twenty20 match in Australia.
"I don't know anything about that. I saw a lot of things happening on the screen that were not your typical fare," Shipperd said.
"I haven't had a chance to speak to Shane and others who were out there on that circumstance and when I do, I'll probably have more to say."
But Shipperd was adamant Warne's actions were not premeditated. "There certainly wasn't any discussion in our group about any sort of pre-emptive tactic as far as getting under his skin, so to speak.
"As I say, I don't know what happened out there in terms of what sparked those particualr movements and incidents of players [that] unfolded. And I dont' know that I'll find out."
The Renegades have stitched up a home semi final but have lost Samuels to injury and Finch to national duties, with Ben Rohrer recovering from an injury and his replacement Alex Doolan twisting his ankle on Sunday night. The Stars, who play Sydney Thunder at the MCG on Tuesday night and can still make the semis, are still negotiating to retain Malinga for that game before he joins Sri Lanka's one-day squad.
"That's another issue that we hope to resolve with those who are controlling him. We'd certainly like him to be available," Shipperd said.