Well as per previous incarnations, the Mercantile Mutual Cup, the ING Cup, the Ford Ranger Cup and the Rypbi Cup, the sponsors name is key to having a domestic one day cricket competition in Australia.
Somewhat confusingly the competition is being referred to as the Matador Cup which conjures a different image in my mind to the Matador BBQs Cup.
And it’s not just the competition name that is out their have a look at some of the sponsored team names:
myFootDr Queensland Bulls – what?
Alcohol. Think Again Western Warriors – nice use of punctuation
Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers – well that is what Bushrangers did, rob banks. This is Victoria
West End Redbacks – geographically challenging, it’s South Australia
The format is the similar to last season with the competition condensed into a four week tournament to begin the domestic cricket season. This year there has been an increase from 6 to 7 games per team.
The competition starts in Brisbane with games at the Gabba and Alan Border Field before moving to Sydney with games at North Sydney Oval, Bankstown Oval and Drummoyne Oval.
It begins on Saturday October 4 and concludes with a preliminary final between 2nd and 3rd at Drummoyne Oval on Friday October 24 before the winner takes on 1st in the final at the SCG on Sunday October 26.
No rule variations or experimentation this year with standard One Day International Rules applying ahead of the World Cup in February-March. There will however be no DRS.
It’s on FTA TV in glorious HD on GEM. 15 of the 23 games will be broadcast on Channel Nine’s digital channel GEM which is very good coverage considering a lot of the games are on simultaneously. However disappointingly neither of the opening games on October 4 will be broadcast – is Nine using all it’s HD cameras at the NRL grand final the next day? Not sure.
Last year all games were day games but this year there are day/night games scheduled for the Gabba and Drummoyne Oval which should make for more convenient TV viewing, particularly for the weekday games.
The Southern Stars’ Meg Lanning will be commentating and is likely to be joined by the usual Channel Nine boneheads of Michael Slater, Brad McNamara and Tim Gilbert. Hopefully Tom Moody returns as the articulate and considered voice of reason in the commentary box.
Queensland have won the past two one-day competitions and should secure their third straight title.
What they should do….
Recently Associate nations Afganistan, UAE, Scotland and Ireland have been touring Australia in preparation for the World Cup.
In the Matador Cup the six states are playing seven games each so are playing two opponents twice. Why not sub in Ireland and Scotland to replace those double up games and have eight teams playing seven games each then semi finals and a final? Admittedly Scotland’s and Ireland’s performances have generally been disappointing on this tour but what better preparation for a World Cup in Australia than playing in a four week one day tournament?
The seven games per team is still short of the 10 games played in the one day cup from from 2001/02 to 2010/11. Given there is a 50 over World Cup later this season and in England in 2019, this reduction in matches seems counter productive to Cricket Australia’s stated aim to be the number one ranked country in all three formats of the game.
To get the one day cup back up to 10 matches would require the tournament to start one week earlier which could not have happened this year because the Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers were competing in the Champions League T20 during this week. Once again the CLT20 is causing fixturing difficulties for Australian cricket.
The players to watch
Given the Australian one day team is playing Pakistan in Dubai for the first part of this competition it is chance for some lesser known players to impress ahead of the World Cup.
Michael Klinger makes his debut for his new state after leaving South Australia in the off season. He will be keen to impress with runs at the top of the order.
Sam Whiteman was the top Shield keeper last season and impressed for Australia A in four day cricket over the winter. Brad Haddin looks to be the first choice keeper for the World Cup but with Matthew Wade seemingly in and out of favour with selectors the 2nd keeper position in the World Cup squad might be up for grabs and strong performances here could see Whiteman take that spot.
Michael Beer and Ashton Agar are the forgotten spinners of Australian cricket and it will be interesting to see how Western Australia mange both of them as they haven’t often played in the same XI. Perhaps more spin friendly pitches in Sydney may allow both to ply their trade in the same side.
Shaun Tait, The Wild Thing, hasn’t played one day cricket since retiring from the format after the 2011 World Cup to globetrot for T20 cash. Tait has stated he wants to help SA win silverware but it looks like he will only be playing 4 games in this competition, using it more as preparation for the Big Bash.
Jake Lehmann is a batsmen and the son of Australian coach, Darren. He made some runs in the Futures League last season and impressed in pre-season matches so gets his opportuinity – no pressure!
Johan Botha, the SA skipper, was reported in last years tournament for a suspect bowling action. Given the world wide crack down on illegal bowling actions (it seems any spinner who bowls in a long sleeve shirt is in trouble) Botha may look to play as a batsmen, giving leg spinner Adam Zampa more games, or start wearing short sleeve shirts.
Mark Cosgrove returns to South Australia after three seasons in Tasmania and his class a the top of the order will be invaluable.
Chris Tremain is the New South Wales fast bowler who transferred to Victoria in the off season and will be looking to start his career with the Bushrangers on a positive note.
Pace bowler Jake Haberfield has the best bowling statistics in domestic one day cricket and will look for more of the same in his Victorian one day debut after moving from SA to Victoria last season and playing some Shield cricket only for the Bushrangers.
Dave Hussey is the hardened veteran of the Victorian team and needs just 1 more game to reach 100 one day game for the Bushrangers.
Alex Keath has been a promising all-rounder for a number of season but has failed to secure a regular game let alone deliver on the expectation. Hopefully this tournament he can cement a spot in the Bushrangers line up and produce some performances of note.
New South Wales
Ryan Carters had a break out season in four day cricket last season making the Shield team of the year as an opener. It will be interested to see if he can transform that rich vein form into the 50 over format.
Nic Maddison is the likely opening partner for Ryan Carters. The 22 years old left hander has been talked about for higher honours and has played one T20 international for Australia.
Kurtis Patterson career began with a century on Shield debut for NSW at the age of 18. His one day game is still a work in progress but the now 21 year old will look to convert starts into more meaningful contributions – not always easy to do batting at number 6 in limited overs cricket.
Ben Dunk was the player of the Big Bash last year with his top order batting and it will be crucial for the Tiger’s success that he brings his 20 over form to the 50 over game.
Jordan Silk is a class young batsmen who has shown he is adept in all three formats of the game. He missed the second half of last season due to injury but it is ameasure of how highly he is rated in Tasmania that he has been made vice-captain for this tournament.
Sam Rainbird is a fast bowler with the best name in domestic cricket.
Usman Khawaja, the mystery man of Australian cricket, was instrumental in delivering Queensland the title last season with a century in the final. Look for more of the same from the composed left hander.
James Hopes, the veteran Bulls skipper just keeps getting the job done more so with the ball than with the bat these days but is still a genuine all round threat in 50 over cricket.
Joe Burns, smashed a century against Ireland in a warm up match prior to the tournament and looks to be in good form.