Day one of the Matador Cup, thank you very much

Travis Head acknowledges his double century (picture: Getty Images)

Travis Head acknowledges his double century (picture: Getty Images)

Domestic cricket is exciting.

With the condensed competition format, the Matador Cup started in blistering fashion on Monday – and it was mainly all thanks to willow on leather; although Mitchell Starc wanted to also have a say.

Putting aside the fact the opening three games were played on suburban grounds that are tiny compared to the likes of the MCG and SCG, the efforts of the batsmen cannot be understated.

The tournament itself was bolstered by the unexpected addition of the Australian test players due to the cancellation of the Bangladesh tour – but it was Travis Head who stole the show.

South Australian captain and now double centurion Head is not 22 until the end of this year.

However, his composure and eye for the ball resulted in a score of 202 off 119 balls, including 12 sixes.

For South Australia, it is only one game on a ground more akin to a postage stamp, but it’s the confidence boost the entire side will get at reeling in a 350+ target with several overs to spare that will get the Redbacks up and running.

He did it so clinically the Redbacks had Western Australian on the backfoot, and the Warriors bowling figures hardly look flattering against the powerful performance the left-hander displayed.

It is hard to go past the partnership he carved out with Callum Ferguson (112 from 118 balls); the 278 runs scored in a little over 32 overs – ticking along close to nine runs an over – was the catalyst for such a commanding victory.

Not that Western Australia didn’t crush the South Australians a few hours prior, with Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh posting enormous centuries.

Bancroft and Head present themselves as part of generation next for Australia as the national side looks to rebuild.

Like any good performer, the key to both of these players is a strong season and a good conversion rate.

For Head, it is all about going on with starts and playing the captain’s role with a level persona.  He must do it now with the red ball, and confidently.

https://twitter.com/worldofBG/status/650905728429887488

Bancroft finished with 896 Sheffield Shield runs in 2014-2015, and a huge 176 is a surefire statement to the selectors ahead of the first day of international cricket on November 5.

Elsewhere, seeing Mitchell Starc rip any side to shreds and shatter the stumps is always entertaining.

This time, seeing a CA XI put together from all the six state sides crumble so easily – to the tune of more than 270 runs – is concerning.

However, the side is the youngest in the competition and after one game in any sporting competition, trying to draw conclusions doesn’t work.  The side will get better with time but came up against a New South Wales side packed with test experience.

What has been proven today, regardless of ground size and bowling attack, is there are batsmen at state level who can step up and hit a groove to excite cricket fans – but must do it consistently.

The likes of Jimmy Peirson and Marcus Harris are still developing, and will take a lot from watching the likes of Steve Smith and Starc go about their business.

It won’t all be a batsmen’s show – expect the bowlers to come back in the later stages.  The likes of Jason Behrendorff and Gary Putland, perhaps the two best left-armers going around at the moment, can give it a red hot crack

Renegades stop the Thunder in its tracks

Jacques Kallis is bowled for a duck by James Pattinson (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Jacques Kallis is bowled for a duck by James Pattinson (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Returning to Etihad Stadium proved highly fruitful for the Melbourne Renegades, who had lost their first two matches in Sydney and Perth respectively.

A comfortable eight wicket win against the Sydney Thunder on Tuesday night at the Docklands gave the red army its first victory for BBL|04.  Having lost the toss and being asked to bowl by the Thunder, the Renegades looked hungry in the field, and with the ball. Continue reading

Cricket: Saying goodbye to a little champion personally

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Tributes for Phil Hughes left outside the South Entrance at the Adelaide Oval (photo: Davis Harrigan)

It has been one of the most emotional weeks of cricket during my lifetime.

I did not know the man Phillip Hughes – aka “Hughesy” or “Boof” – but I saw him play many times live and on TV.  The situation that unfolded this week, bringing the cricket world to a standstill, truly hit home when I attended a women’s Twenty20 game between the South Australia Scorpions and the Australian Capital Territory Meteors on Friday, at Adelaide Oval No. 2, behind the spectacular main ground. Continue reading

Phil Hughes; talented and now gone at 25

Phil Hughes (photo: Cricket Australia)

Phil Hughes (photo: Cricket Australia)

The cricket world is hurting this week.  I’m hurting. The news rocked us all.

The age of 25 is far too young; what hurts even more is the death was on a sporting field, with the sportsman doing something he loved. Continue reading

Cricket: Cameron White is a no-brainer for the World Cup

Cameron White in action at ANZ Stadium (photo: Getty Images)

Cameron White in action at ANZ Stadium (photo: Getty Images)

The resurgence of the former Victorian skipper – first at state, and now at national level – over the last two years has been nothing short of sensational.

His last two domestic one-day competitions (accumulated) have seen him pile on 741 runs at an average above 67.  In the Big Bash League (past two seasons), he has 385 runs at an average above 25. Continue reading

Cricket: Day/night test cricket a pink blow to the heart

Kane Williamson of NZL v West Indies; shots like this may disappear with the pink ball (photo: WICB Media/Randy Brooks)

Kane Williamson of NZL v West Indies; shots like this may disappear with the pink ball (photo: WICB Media/Randy Brooks)

As the traditional form of the game, test cricket is not something that can – or should – be radically altered.

Now, though, that scene has the potential to change. Continue reading

Cricket: Australian Domestic scene: Luke Pomersbach and Aaron Finch

Luke Pomersbach in action during the 2012/2013 season (source: ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

Luke Pomersbach in action during the 2012/2013 season (source: ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

There can be no denying that the depth of talent in Australian cricket is at an all-time high.

From the miserly all-rounders to the top order aggressors, it is hard to miss someone who racks up runs or takes lots of wickets. Continue reading

Cricket: Australian Domestic scene: Doug Bollinger and Ben Laughlin

Doug Bollinger in action during the 2013 Ryobi Cup (source: ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

Doug Bollinger in action during the 2013 Ryobi Cup (source: ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

They both play for the same Big Bash League team, the Hobart Hurricanes.  When it comes to the two longer forms of the domestic game, the left-arm and right-arm quick respectively are on opposing sides.

Enter New South Welshman Doug Bollinger, and Tasmanian Ben Laughlin.  One steams in with sheer determination, the other bowls extremely well at the death of 20 over and 50 over matches.

Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Season Three: the attraction

BBL 03 teams (photo from icricketbuzz.com)

BBL 03 teams (photo from icricketbuzz.com)

SHOWTIME

The Big Bash League (and a full-on summer of cricket) is ready to grab our attention once again.  Seven weeks of action include 32 group stage matches and three finals, from December 20 2013 to February 7 2014.

Reigning champions the Brisbane Heat have compiled another strong squad; the Melbourne Renegades continue to attract fans after a surprise BBL|02, and the Sydney Thunder have recruited batting superstar Mike Hussey. Continue reading

Cricket: An interview with Greg Shipperd

Victorian Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd (source: Google Images)

Victorian Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd (source: Google Images)

He has been the stalwart of the Victorian Bushrangers since the tragic death of then coach David Hookes in 2004.

For almost ten years, Greg Shipperd has overseen what is arguably one of the strongest lists ever seen in Australian domestic cricket.  The Victorian presence in the Australian side has substantially lifted in the last decade. Continue reading