As the JLT Cup fixture comes to a close, Tasmania are the only team who can make a move up the points table (hypothetically), but it would take a significant winning margin plus the bonus point against Queensland to even come close to that possibility.
Had they started the tournament with a win or two in their first three games, Tasmania may well have been sitting where South Australia are currently placed. Unfortunately three consecutive losses had them sitting at the bottom of the standings for quite some time, that probably dented their chances of making it all the way as early as the halfway mark in the tournament. They can dwell on what could have been, or they can give it every last ounce of effort against a strong Queensland Bulls outfit who have also missed out on the JLT Cup finals. Some individuals had a fairly-forgettable start to the tournament, the bowling attack in particular who were starved of early wickets in both opening games, paying the ultimate price as they were placed on the receiving end of some pretty hefty partnerships. Some unfortunate injury blows added to the carnage that was happening on field with both Jackson Bird and Andrew Fekete being ruled out for the rest of the tournament, it just wasn’t going Tasmania’s way one bit. Thankfully some individual brilliance from captain George Bailey who has been the Tigers most efficient batsman & Alex Doolan who turned his nightmare-run with the bat around in their past two games gifted Tasmania back-to-back wins, not to mention some influential bowling spells from the part-timer Ben Dunk who’s picked up five wickets in two games. Yep, Bailey and Doolan have been the dynamic-duo for the Tigers, scoring a combined-357 runs in their wins against South Australia and the CA XI. Hats off to Cameron Boyce as well, on some real flat-wickets that gifted the batsmen plenty of runs and offered next to nothing for the bowlers, the leggy was made to work for his wickets which he’s been able to do up until now. Boyce has picked up nine wickets, the most for a Tasmanian bowler in the tournament including two three-wicket hauls in the Tigers past two wins.
One of the teams who have dramatically under-performed in the JLT Cup given the amount of quality they’ve had to work with, Queensland bottomed-out horribly towards the back end of the competition. Apart from two average matches at the start of the tournament, Bulls skipper Usman Khawaja has dominated his past three outings with the willow, scoring 85 against the Bushrangers, 81 against the Warriors and 138 against New South Wales. Not even some Khawaja-brilliance could influence the results, some of his teammates let him down big time which reflects on the overall team performance. Some really poor performances from Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns in the past two games haven’t helped the cause, Both batsmen only scored four runs each in total against Western Australia and New South Wales. 23-year-old middle order batsman Marnus Labuschagne has impressed on three different occasions in this years JLT Cup, the best of them coming against the Blues just recently with a steady 91. Their bowling attack hasn’t been all that potent either, the likes of Brendan Doggett, Cameron Gannon, Michael Neser and Jack Wildermuth have all been good without being great, the injury that has kept Billy Stanlake out of the entire JLT Cup really hurt them in that department. Meanwhile, Ben Cutting and Mitchell Swepson have been average at best with the ball in the tournament, conceding plenty of runs for very-little reward. Both these teams have stumbled at different times in this years one-day comp, it will be interesting to see who finishes on a positive note.
Players To Watch…
Ben Dunk – Predominantly known for his attacking stroke play with the bat, Dunk is doing it in both areas of the game at the moment. Not his best tournament with the bat so far, but he’s doing some damage with the ball!
George Bailey – Easily the Tigers most impressive player in this years JLT Cup, the former Australian ODI captain is averaging an impressive 62.2 with the bat featuring two fifties and a century in the tournament.
Cameron Boyce – Has been around long enough to know how to get wickets in these types of tournaments, the Tigers leg-spinner has extracted nine wickets in a batting-dominated JLT Cup.
Tim Paine – Yet to play a game in the tournament, Tim Paine has been rushed back from India after the T20 series to try and increase Tasmania’s chances of making the elimination final on Thursday. A huge gain for the Tigers!
Usman Khawaja – Some mixed results for the Bulls hasn’t impacted Khawaja’s individual game, the Queensland skipper has scored 304 runs in his past three matches, it appears he’s hit a real purple patch!
Ben Cutting – Has had one of those tournaments where you’ve rarely noticed him, the big-hitting Queenslander has had a fairly-tame run with the bat and not a lot of luck with the ball. Could Cutting flick the switch against Tassie?
Marnus Labuschagne – Easily Queensland’s most consistent performer with the bat behind Khawaja, Labuschagne is a reliable avenue to consistent run scoring. Expect another 50+ score against the Tigers.
Michael Neser – A real surprise-packet, Neser produced an eye-opening effort with the bat as the Bulls all-rounder scored an out of control 122 against WA. He’s a genuine wicket taker as a seam bowler, his batting is a bonus.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Tasmania | JLT Cup | 21st match | Hobart
- George Bailey
- Matthew Wade
- James Faulkner
- Ben Dunk
- Cameron Boyce
Top 5 fantasy picks | Queensland | JLT Cup | 21st match | Hobart
- Usman Khawaja
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Michael Neser
- Cameron Gannon
- Ben Cutting
Tasmania (possible) – 1. Ben Dunk 2. Tim Paine 3. Alex Doolan 4. George Bailey (c) 5. Jordan Silk 6. Matthew Wade (wk) 7. James Faulkner 8. Simon Milenko 9. Tom Rogers 10. Cameron Boyce 11. Riley Meredith.
Queensland (possible) – 1. Matthew Renshaw 2. Usman Khawaja (c) 3. Joe Burns 4. Marnus Labuschagne 5. Sam Heazlett 6. Jimmy Peirson (wk) 7. Ben Cutting 8. Michael Neser 9. Mitchell Swepson/Jason Floros 10. Cameron Gannon 11. Brendan Doggett.
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.