Thursday 23 November 2017 / 02:36 AM

JLT CUP PERFORMANCES PROVIDE BIG BASH PREVIEW

A few wide balls and a superb partnership between Alex Carey and Jake Weatherald spelt disaster for the Victoria Bushrangers in a 176-run elimination final against the South Australia Redbacks at Blundstone Arena yesterday afternoon.

Bushrangers captain Peter Handscomb won the toss and chose to bowl, a harrowing decision for his side in the long-run.

The Redbacks took full advantage of their batting innings with Weatherald and Carey taking control at the top of the innings with 116 and 92 respectively to guide the slight underdogs to 5/339 from their 48 overs.

Weatherald seems a top contender for the JLT Cup Final against Western Australia after also contributing 71 and 103 in recent one-day matches against Victoria and New South Wales.
The handy performances during the cup also make him a key player to watch in the Adelaide Strikers this Big Bash season.

After an astonishing batting partnership for Carey and Weatherald, Redbacks bowlers abruptly ended the Bushrangers batting innings with Aaron Finch’s middle stump knocked over in the first delivery from Daniel Worrall in the first over.

Victoria were in a world of trouble at 2/22 after Marcus Harris went after a six but only managed a nick to the keeper.

Soon afterwards Victoria’s top order collapsed, Worrall at it again with the wickets of three batsmen in the middle order, picking up an impressive 5/62 at the end of play. Zampa, who recently returned from Australian representative duties in India showed no signs of rest, contributing with a handy 3/31.

The Redbacks are going to have to work hard to take down the WA Warriors in the final on Saturday in Hobart. The Warriors won five of their six round-robin games with impressive knocks from Shaun Marsh throughout the Cup of 69, 62, 88 and 132*, as well as D’Arcy Short making 119* against Cricket Australia XI last Tuesday.

WA bowler Jhye Richardson proved lethal in their last clash with the Redbacks with figures of 3/60 while Matthew Kelly had a stellar start to the season with figures 4/25 and 2/52 during the Cup.

The 50-over JLT Cup competition is a platform for BBL franchises to establish an idea of their teams for the first round, while punters following the Cup have a better insight of who to back for the first round of the KFC Big Bash League Fantasy Competition.

Although not starring in the elimination final, Bushrangers and Sydney Thunder bowler Fawad Ahmed made crucial contributions for the Vics during the Cup with figures of 3/24, 3/44 and 3/62.

Brisbane Heat have another exciting season ahead of them with young gun Mitchell Swepson finishing the cup with career-best one-day figures to assist Queensland to a win over Tasmania at Bellerive Oval last Tuesday.

Swepson took the prized wickets of George Bailey and Matthew Wade to finish with figures of 3-52.

Dismissed on 62 from last Tuesday’s game, Bailey is in fine form ahead of the Big Bash League with an accumulative 373 runs throughout the Cup, including 126 off 100 against CA XI in Sydney last week.

Batsman Nic Maddinson, a Sydney Sixers fan favourite, starred for New South Wales making respective totals of 86, 123 and 137, while Sean Abbott’s figures of 3/29, 3/59 and 2/54 make him another pacer to watch out for this summer.

The Big Bash League begins on December 19th, with a Sydney derby clash between the Thunder and the Sixers.

The JLT Cup Final will be held tomorrow in Hobart and can be watched live via the Cricket Australia Live App from 2pm.

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Ange Lowther

Based in Brisbane, Ange has come on board with Commentary Box Sports as a cricket reporter and features writer.

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