The Queensland Bulls registered a win in their opening game of the tournament against the CA XI by four wickets, on the other side of the spectrum is South Australia who are looking up from below after they were dismantled by the same opponent.
It must be said that despite Queensland‘s promising victory over the CA XI, there were no particular standout performances from any individuals. In this instance, it was a positive thing given a lot of different individuals for the Bulls chipped in with some handy runs and timely wickets that set them up for a victorious outcome. It was a solid contribution across the board with the bat, Matt Renshaw and Marnus Labuschagne both made it into the 60’s before they were dismissed. Renshaw was extremely watchful which probably explained his low strike, but he was able to form a base for Queensland at the top of the order which allowed the batsman below a licence to go on the attack when the opportunity presented itself. A fluently attacking innings from Joe Burns at no. 3 lifted the run rate as he muscled his way to 49 off 40 balls in no time striking at 122.50 before he was dismissed by Mark Steketee. Burns used the boundary as his scoring outlet with six fours along with two sixes in his small-onslaught, teammate Ben Cutting also finished off the innings strongly scoring 39 runs off just 25 deliveries to guide the Bulls to victory.
South Australia have to be wary of how they set the field for particular batsmen in the Queensland side, they could probably set a more attacking field for Matt Renshaw who likes to play every ball on it’s merits, on the other hand Joe Burns will try and hit through and over the field which might suggest a more defensive field with men on the fence. Usman Khawaja could be the Redbacks kryptonite though, he can be incredibly difficult to dismiss when he starts picking the gaps in the field and has been known to score big in these types of games, that’s a huge possibility given how poorly some of South Australia’s bowlers performed in their opening match.
Most of Queensland’s bowling attack is formed by bowling all-rounders such as Ben Cutting, Michael Neser, Jack Wildermuth and Jason Floros. If they are bagging wickets as well as scoring runs, the batting is just a bonus which makes this team a force to be reckoned with. Is was surprising that the Bulls selected Cameron Gannon over Billy Stanlake who was almost a near-certainty to feature in their best XI for this years JLT Cup. Both Michael Neser and Cameron Gannon led the way for the Bulls in the CA XI’s innings taking two wickets apiece in their nine overs each, that couldn’t be matched by Ben Cutting who played as the third seamer and was very disappointing as he leaked 34 runs in just four overs. Spin-duo Mitch Swepson and Jason Floros kept things tight picking up one wicket each, Swepson was the standout though bowling out his full quota of overs for just 31 runs.
What can be said about South Australia? the start to their innings alone brought them to their downfall with some quality batsmen being knocked over cheaply by a team filled with inexperienced rookies. If it wasn’t for a century-stand to Cameron Valente batting down at no. 7, South Australia may have been put out of their misery a lot earlier then the 46th over of CA XI’s innings which would have resulted in an additional bonus point. There are quite a few players who have to redeem themselves after that poor performance at Allan Border Field, the top five batsmen in-particular. Did the CA XI catch the Redbacks on a bad day or were they genuinely outclassed? truth be told, we didn’t get to see enough of the likes of Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and Callum Ferguson to make a clear-cut decision, but given that Tom Cooper and Alex Ross also fell not long after would suggest they were beaten by the better team on the day. The lower order contributed most of the runs, Jake Lehmann was the only specialist batsman to score over 30 and Joe Mennie mustered up a fighting-43 alongside Valente’s gritty century off 138 deliveries.
With all that said and done, expect the Redbacks to bounce back with a strong performance against a very-tough opposition. They might not take away the points, but they can certainly put up a better fight then their last game. Early wickets in Queensland’s innings will be crucial, they have one of the strongest batting line-up’s in the tournament along with a fair amount of established players, Khawaja, Renshaw and Burns just to name a few. What’s more worrying for South Australia is that they only managed to take three wickets against the CA XI who aren’t exactly world beaters, so they’ll have to find two or three more avenues to wickets this time around. We got to see a glimpse of what the excitement-machine Alex Ross is capable of with the bat in the middle order last game, fingers crossed he can find his feet and counterattack the Bulls spearheads with some entertaining batting.
On reflection, South Australia’s bowling was chaotic at best with skipper Callum Ferguson desperately looking for wickets that never ended showing up. It was a scoring frenzy between CA XI’s Jake Carder and Beau Webster who both notched up centuries as the Redbacks were stumped as to how they could dismiss the set batsmen. Breaking down their bowling attack, they don’t have anywhere near enough bowlers who can take 2-3 wickets consistently each game. Spinner Tom Andrews doesn’t remain a threat and is easily rotated by the opposition batsmen and Joe Mennie was unable to take a wicket in his ten overs which raises some huge concerns. It appears that most of the damage will have to be done by all-rounder Cameron Valente who has a happy-knack of picking up wickets, and Daniel Worrall who managed just the one wicket but managed to keep the runs to a minimum.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Queensland | JLT Cup | 4th match | Brisbane
- Usman Khawaja
- Joe Burns
- Michael Neser
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Mitchell Swepson
Top 5 fantasy picks | South Australia | JLT Cup | 4th match | Brisbane
- Alex Ross
- Cameron Valente
- Alex Carey
- Daniel Worrall
- Callum Ferguson
Queensland (possible) – 1. Usman Khawaja (c) 2. Matt Renshaw 3. Joe Burns 4. Marnus Labuschagne 5. Jimmy Peirson (wk) 6. Jack Wildermuth 7. Ben Cutting 8. Michael Neser 9. Jason Floros 10. Cameron Gannon 11. Mitchell Swepson.
South Australia (possible) – 1. Alex Carey (wk) 2. Jake Weatherald 3. Callum Ferguson (c) 4. Tom Cooper 5. Alex Ross 6. Jake Lehmann 7. Cameron Valente 8. Joe Mennie 9. Tom Andrews 10. Nick Winter 11. Daniel Worrall.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.