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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tasmania v NSW final

The last first class match of Australian season 2006-2007, the Pura Cup final between Tasmania and NSW, begins tomorrow in Hobart.

According to Cricket Australia's preview the bookmakers have Tasmania favourites to win the trophy, probably because (1) a draw will suffice (there are no points for a first innings win), (2) Tasmania defeated the Blues last week, (3) Tasmania's form this season has been outstanding and (4) the match is being played at Hobart.

That said, both Cricket Australia and Cricinfo suggest some reasons why NSW is unlikely to go down without a fight, including (1) they have a solid tradition of success behind them, including success in finals played away from home, (2) they have better players, as exemplified by their four ( effectively three as Brad Haddin is in the World Cup squad), as opposed to the Tigers' one, reps in the ACA Pura Cup team of the season and (3) a suggestion that the Tigers might, as has happened on the three previous occasions when they've contested finals, be overawed by the situation and play below their best.

I've just looked at the Hobart forecast for the next few days: there is some chance of rain which, if it eventuates, will help Tasmania's cause by delaying matters. The Tigers will be the sentimental favourites, and rightly so, yet all but the youngest Australian cricket followers will remember how long it took for Queensland, despite fielding very strong teams, to break through and win the Sheffield Shield for the first time. I think that Tasmania should win because they've played consistently well throughout the year.

PS Apart from the Fox Sports TV direct broadcast a streamed radio commentary provided by the ABC will be available online through Cricket Australia's website http://cricket.com.au.
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