Fighting it out to stay off the bottom of the table, Tasmania and the CA XI have both struggled to gain any sort of momentum throughout the JLT Cup so far and it’s reflective of where they are placed at the moment.
After a promising JLT Cup opener against South Australia, the CA XI have only managed to register three-consecutive losses which has sent them all the way to the bottom of the tournament standings. It appeared they had turned a corner after last years winless-Matador Cup campaign, but they’ve quickly fallen in the same sort of fashion which can only come down to lack of experience as well as effort and intensity. They haven’t been without some key contributors though, Jake Carder and Beau Webster each scored dominant-hundreds in their first match, Max Bryant dished up back-to-back half centuries against Queensland and New South Wales and Harry Nielsen has also stepped up in the CA XI’s last two games, fresh off a superb 94 runs against Victoria a couple days ago. There’s plenty of talent to work with, they just haven’t been able to deliver a really strong team performance apart from that early win against the Redbacks. That’s where they fall over constantly, but it’s not just their batting. The CA XI tend to use quite a few alternative bowling options, not a bad tactic given most of them are very capable with the leather. Consistency in this area is also the issue though, apart from Mark Steketee who wasn’t even selected in the first game and Jackson Coleman who was the star of the show against the Redbacks, the CA XI have scampered through their various options for wickets which has cost them a decent amount of runs through those experiments. It’s just a matter of riding the fixture out now, it’s hard to see them winning another game in the tournament.
Finally breaking a three-game losing streak, Tasmania notched up their first win of the JLT Cup against the South Australian Redbacks in what was a dominant display all-round from the Tigers. Everything fell into place perfectly, Ben Dunk kick-started the innings with a steady-45, Alex Doolan finally broke his runs drought with a stabilizing-62 which then allowed Tasmania to attack vigorously. Skipper George Bailey and keeper Matthew Wade went to work on lifting the run rate, and boy did they ever! After having a hard time over in India, Wade looked back to his old self with some confident lofted shots down the wicket which resulted in some stunning sixes, finishing his innings on 46 off 45 deliveries as he hauled out to a Tom Cooper. A captain’s knock from George Bailey who compiled 86 off 62 balls featuring 6 fours and 6 sixes set up the perfect platform for the man known as “the finisher”, James Faulkner. A hard-hitting Faulkner lifted the Tigers total to 315 with his quick-fire 34 from just 19 balls as Tasmania ended the innings in a commanding position. The bowlers were able to back up that brilliant batting performance just as well, knocking the Redbacks over for just 186 with over ten overs remaining. Cameron Boyce was at his dynamic-best for Tasmania picking up 3/27 off his nine overs, but a surprise showing from star batsman Ben Dunk who has also had the wicketkeeping duties for the past three games almost trumped Boyce with an extremely economical & effective 3/14 from just 4.2 overs! Tasmania could very-well take back-to-back scalps after a winless start mid-way through the JLT Cup.
Players To Watch…
The CA XI are heavily-reliant on Mark Steketee and Jackson Coleman to obtain most of the wickets, it’s hard to argue with that given the pair have been used more than any of the other bowlers in the side. Both are genuine wicket takers and brilliant seam-bowling options with the new ball, this team has very-little to lean on which means these two big men need to lead by example and give their teammates opportunities in the field. The CA XI only picked up three wickets against Victoria in their previous match, with Steketee taking the only two as a bowler. designated-wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen earned himself a promotion up the order after a convincing 38 not out against New South Wales, making the most of his opportunity and taking on the Victorian bowlers as the 22-year-old made it to 94 before he was dismissed. Nielsen showed brilliant composure throughout his innings and never let himself get bogged down, he always found a scoring outlet through a four or a six. The CA XI have one of the more unknown squads in the tournament, so it’s hard to pinpoint who’s going to stand up on any given day, but Nielsen looks a promising contender for that predicament. This man had all the makings to be a standout in this years JLT Cup, but it’s been a tough gig for Beau Webster who is also captaining the side. He certainly indicated that he was the real deal early in the tournament, a century to get his campaign underway has been followed by some ordinary innings. A man with great potential coming up against his own state team, Webster needs to contribute something of significance.
George Bailey was always tipped or expected to dominate this one-day domestic tournament, he’s the former ODI skipper for Australia and has a batting ability that can go unnoticed at times. Despite his sides mediocre position in the JLT Cup, Bailey himself has had quite an impressive tournament with the bat averaging 46.25. He can be relied upon to score runs consistently, but it’s how he does it that probably intensifies his significance in the team. Former Victorian wicketkeeper, although originally from Tasmania (confusing, I know) and has now made his way back to the Tigers, Matthew Wade will play a significant role in the rest of the teams fixture. It may have been an omen that Wade’s return saw Tasmania register their first win of the tournament, although credit to him because he was under the pump to score something decent, and he did exactly that with a solid 46 in the middle order. Generally someone who doesn’t mind dancing down the track and taking on the bowlers, Wade is a no-fear batsman who uses the aerial root as a key scoring area in his innings. Also a brilliant gloveman with cat-like reflexes behind the stumps, Wade brings a lot of energy to the team and has been known to take a screamer in the field and is very sharp behind the stumps. Known for his explosive performances with the willow, Ben Dunk is now doing it with the ball! who would’ve thought? As humorous as it may be, Dunk actually produced a three-wicket haul in under five overs and picked up the likes of Callum Ferguson and Jake Lehmann who are both quality batsmen. He’s had a inconsistent JLT Cup with the bat, no scores over fifty as of yet but his ball striking ability makes him a lethal weapon in his own right.
Top 5 fantasy picks | CA XI | JLT Cup | 16th match | Sydney
- Mark Steketee
- Harry Nielsen
- Max Bryant
- Jackson Coleman
- Beau Webster
Top 5 fantasy picks | Tasmania | JLT Cup | 16th match | Sydney
- Ben Dunk
- George Bailey
- Cameron Boyce
- Matthew Wade
- Alex Doolan
CA XI (possible) – 1. Jake Carder 2. Max Bryant 3. Beau Webster (c) 4. Clint Hinchcliffe 5. Param Uppal 6. Harry Nielsen (wk) 7. Ben Pengelley/Jonathan Merlo 8. Mac Wright 9. Mark Steketee 10. Charlie Stobo/Henry Thornton/David Grant 11. Jackson Coleman.
Tasmania (possible) – 1. Ben McDermott 2. Ben Dunk 3. Alex Doolan 4. George Bailey (c) 5. Matthew Wade (wk) 6. Jordan Silk 7. James Faulkner 8. Tom Rogers 9. Cameron Boyce 10. Nick Buchanan/Sam Rainbird 11. Riley Meredith.
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.