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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Domestic interlude #2

Tasmania 5/277 [50 overs] (T Paine 115, M Dighton 44, N Adcock 3/50) defeated South Australia 156 [39.2 overs] (X Doherty 3/21) by 121 runs with 10.4 overs to spare at Adelaide Oval: Ford Ranger one day interstate competition.

I went to the game with a friend who is visiting from the UK. Fortunately for him and the other spectators Tasmania won the toss , batted and proceeded to compile a handy but far from ungettable 5/277 from their 50 overs.

Tim Paine's 115 was the backbone of the innings, but everyone who went to the crease chipped in (the lowest score was George Bailey's 16). I thought that Paine was a tad slow until the ground announcer read out his strike rate: 115 from 130 balls. He was unobtrusively good: I could only quibble about a couple of poorly executed reverse sweeps and a ball or two's nervousness in the 90s.

The Redbacks pace attack lacked penetration and, in the closing overs, accuracy. Nathan Adcock bowled his offspin intelligently to check the scoring and take three wickets, all bowled, in the middle overs when the Tigers looked like breaking away. Dan Cullen also did well, without being as threatening as his captain.

I was looking forward to a hard fought contest, but was bitterly disappointed.

SA began rapidly (and rashly) in what always looked like a futile quest for bonus points which would keep their hopes of playing in the final alive. Only Ben Hilfenhaus was put to the sword (4-0-38-1) but he did at least make the initial breakthrough: Matthew Elliott in his final game caught for 15/14b. 36 for the first wicket was the highest partnership of the innings. What followed was, with some exceptions (a Callum Ferguson off drive comes to mind), a chronicle of ineptitude. Yes, there was some good bowling, especially from Xavier Doherty (10-1-21-3), but how can three run outs and a pub cricket style stumping be explained?

Embarrassing, unfocused... I'll say no more about the Redbacks, but the Tigers deserve praise. They have a young, keen and active team: their fielding (apart from captain Dan Marsh) was very good and their body language exuded confidence. My only criticism was that Marsh bowled himself too much: sure Doherty was doing a good job at the other end but SA were never going to win after Adcock was out for a scratchy 2 making it 6/85 (albeit in 15.4 overs). IMO Marsh should have given
his frontline bowlers a crack at the tail. Don't get me wrong: Marsh is no passenger, and seems to have both the respect of his players and a good grasp of tactics. He is the team's senior pro
and is approaching, if he's not already been awarded, elder statesman status.

For their efforts the Tigers were rewarded with a bonus point, which they deserved. They now look like hosting the FR cup final. On today's performance they deserve to win it, and several of their players deserve to come to the notice of the Australian selectors.


Cricinfo Bulletin.
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