Tasmania managed 1/398 against Queensland at North Sydney Oval thanks to 229 not out to Ben Dunk breaking all sorts of individual and team records along the way with Peter George carted for 101 of his 10 overs.
Not to be outdone Queensland created records of their own successfully chasing down the victory target with 16 balls to spare reaching 3/402 thanks to 166 to Usman Khawaja and 142 to his opening partner Chris Hartley.
Queensland had been in tremendous form as a batting unit managing three consecutive scores over 350 in a week.
Remarkably just a week earlier Tasmania had been bundled out for 62 against Western Australia at the Gabba.
South Australia and Victoria are terrible
South Australia were derailed by injuries to Johan Botha, keeper Tim Ludeman and the un-retired Shaun Tait who managed just 3 games before succumbing to a groin strain. Mark Cosgrove moved back to South Australia during the offseason but was dropped after a string of low scores. The only shining lights for South Australia were the form of leg spinner Adam Zampa, who grabbed the opportunity to shine in Botha’s absence, and Callum Ferguson.
Victoria fared little better than South Australia managing two wins – one against South Australia and a last over win over NSW. Some questionable team selections and batting order decisions continue to affect Victoria. Captain Matthew Wade was suspended for the second time in 12 months for throwing a water bottle in the change rooms and breaking a window. The game he missed Victoria won against NSW with Aaron Finch stepping in as skipper and Peter Handscomb taking the gloves. It makes you wonder if Wade should be relieved of both duties.
On the other hand Western Australia were a model of consistency as they secured their first one day title since 2003 losing just one game – to Queensland by 1 run when their spot in the final was secured. New recruit, Michael Klinger the former SA and Victorian player, slotted in perfectly at number 3 in the batting order for WA and was the man of the final with 96.
Rotation but no Spin
Due to the compressed nature of the tournament with 7 games in 20 days for most teams a lot of fast bowlers were rotated – the dirty word of Australian cricket. Western Australia led the way with none of their fast bowlers playing more than 6 games despite the team playing 8 games. Among the pace bowling rotations were the left arm duo of Jason Behrendorf and Joel Paris plus the Nathan’s Rimmington and Coulter-Nile.
In Australian cricket rotations were meant to be out and playing spinners was meant to be in. But of the 1689 overs bowled in the tournament only 269 were delivered by frontline spinners and only 44 of the 289 wickets to fall were to spin. The leading spinner was Adam Zampa with 10 wickets which put him in tenth place on the wicket takers list.
New South Wales, minus Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon on national duty, played no spinner in either the elimination final or the final. Queensland opted for their battery of right arm medium pace in the elimination final bowling Cameron Boyce, the leg spinner, for only 4 overs. Victorian leg spinners James Muirhead (not in squad) and Fawad Ahmed (2 games) saw very limited action.
GEM offered no spin as to why they twice stopped broadcasting midweek day night games at the end of the first innings. The evening session was streamed on the Cricket Australia website only.
Rumours are circulating that next year may see the tournament played in Western Australia and South Australia next year. Wait and see if that happens but the two city structure of Brisbane and then Sydney worked well this year so it would seem logical to rotate the tournament around the states. Obviously potential wet weather in southern states like Victoria and Tasmania is a concern but it would be unfortunate to deny cricket lovers in those states the opportunity to see domestic one day cricket.
There has also been speculation from Cricket Australia that the National Performance Squad may have a team in the Matador Cup as soon as next season. The idea has some merit.
Johan Botha lead calls for the tournament to be scrapped and for one day games to be played throughout the season. No thanks.
1. Usman Khawaja (Queensland)
523 runs at an average of 74 mean he was unlucky to miss out on Man of the Tournament.
2. Ben Dunk (Tasmania)
A record 229 and 403 runs secured Dunk his spot and a position in the Australian T20 team.
3. Chris Hartley (Queensland)
The keeper formed a formidable opening partnership with Usman Khawaja scoring 403 runs.
4. Cameron White (Victoria)
Named Man of the Tournament ahead of Khawaja for 354 runs with 2 centuries and 2 half centuries.
5. Jonathan Wells (Tasmania)
Made a century to sink Victoria and then belted 6 fours in an over off Gary Putlandin a futile run chase against South Australia.
6. Ryan Carters (New South Wales)
Reprised the Micahel Bevan role of guiding the team home in 4 successful run chases to start the tournament.
7. Nathan Coulter Nile (Western Australia)
Given the surprising lack of all-rounders performing well, Coulter-Nile steps in at number 7 due to his 14 wickets at an average of 10 in just 5 matches.
8. Joel Paris (Western Australia)
The left arm pacemen managed 13 wickets at 13 before injuring a thigh in the final against NSW.
9. Adam Zampa (South Australia)
The South Australian leg spinner was the best performed spinner with 10 wickets in a tournament lacking in notable spin performances.
10. Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales)
Recorded the bowling performance of the tournament with 7/36 against Queensland in the first game on his way to 14 wickets.
11. Gurinder Sandhu (New South Wales)
Despite his gentle approach to the crease Sandhu showed himself to be an intelligent pace bowler taking 15 wickets to be the competition’s leading wicket taker.