We have witnessed some spectacular batting, especially from Western Australia, and unbelievable drama in the finish to the Tasmania vs Victoria match.

The action breaks until Sunday, so it’s an ideal time to look back at the first week and look at five things we learned.

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Never give up!

Victoria was gone against Tasmania.  At 4/172, Tasmania needed 14 runs with almost 12 overs left.  Ben McDermott was set at 71 not out while Beau Webster was 20 not out.  It was a game that Tasmania could not lose…then they started losing wickets. Even when Chris Tremain picked up Webster, surely it was just a minor blip on the run into victory?

At 5/181, Tasmania was just five runs away from victory then a calamitous collapse ensued.  The wicket of James ‘The Finisher’ Faulkner, unable to live up to his soubriquet, saw the batters cross.  McDermott’s response was to go for the grandstand finish. Coming down the wicket to Jackson Coleman, McDermott found mid-off and the Tasmanian tail was exposed.

Gurinder Sandhu and Nathan Ellis squeezed out two more runs, but in the last ball of Coleman’s over, Sandhu sliced the ball in the direction of cover, and Matt Short took a great catch. Two balls later, Jackson Bird was adjudged to have nicked a ball down the leg side, and he too was on his way. Ellis and Riley Meredith were left to get the winning runs, but Tremain caught Ellis in front and Victoria had somehow won by one run. 

WA has some serious batting talent

Western Australia has already flexed its batting muscle in this year’s competition. In both their matches, they have posted scores above 300 and delivered wins over 100 runs in both. At the top of the order, they have Josh Philippe and D’Arcy Short. 22-year-old Philippe is fast growing into a superb white ball batter while Short is already there. Short’s 129 against Tasmania came off 101 balls and could, maybe should, have been a far bigger score.

Such is the quality in depth, WA has choices for their batting order. Whether it’s Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Turner, either of the much-maligned Marsh brothers or Marcus Stoinis there is quality in abundance.  Stoinis’ 101 in the first game against Victoria came off 58 balls. Crashing seven fours and seven sixes, Stoinis reminded us of his efficacy in the shorter form of the game.

With Ashton Agar and Nathan Coulter-Nile in the lower order, there is no respite for opposition bowlers.  It is not inconceivable to see WA go past 400 before the tournament ends.  The other state teams have been warned!

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New South Wales need their International players

Not the start that New South Wales was looking for. With Steve Smith and David Warner missing, it was not going to be easy. Giving players like Jack Edwards and Nick Bertus an opportunity is crucial for the future of the state side. However, in both of their matches, performances have not been up to the standard required. 

At AB Field, they did score over 300 batting first despite it not being enough to defeat Queensland.  Against South Australia, New South Wales were eviscerated by an opening spell from Joe Mennie and Kane Richardson.  Encouragingly, the tail did wag, but 173 was not going to be enough. 

With Moises Henriques at three and Kurtis Patterson at four, the New South Wales top order looks exposed.  The addition of Smith and Warner will bolster the batting.  There will be questions over Warner’s form, after his abject displays in the Ashes, but the opener is far too good a player not to respond. They play WA on Monday in Sydney so it will be interesting to see whether one or both internationals come into the side.

Queensland isn’t missing Chris Lynn

Queensland won one match in last’s year one-day competition.  This performance was despite Chris Lynn scoring 452 runs, the tournament’s highest, at 75.33.  This year, Lynn is missing the tournament for T20 commitments.  Lynn’s absence has not been detrimental to Queensland as they have won both their matches and comfortably so. 

At the top of the order, both Sam Heazlett and Max Bryant have unsettled bowlers with their aggression. Neither player is willing to die wondering and play accordingly.  They play and miss but also send the ball to all parts.  Heazlett scored 380 runs last year and has already scored two fifties.  Marnus Labuschagne, Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns have been the next three in and compliment the openers.  Comfortably scoring at about a run a ball, the threesome has given the innings stability. 

It is worth noting that Usman Khawaja, Queensland’s captain, is still to play and should feature next week.  It would be a surprise if Queensland were not in the running to finish in the top two and contest the final.

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Australia have good young players coming through

Australia’s domestic one-day competition has always been a place for players to put their hands up and get noticed.  This year’s Marsh One-Day Cup is no exception.  Players such as WA’s Josh Philippe, Queensland’s Sam Heazlett and Max Bryant and NSW’s Jack Edwards have been mentioned previously. 

Other players featured in the first week could well contest for international representative honours at some point.  For example, Tasmania’s Riley Meredith is on the radar.  Shane Warne is known to be a great fan of the Tassie quick and he has a hint of Brett Lee about him.  Teenage leggie Lloyd Pope, from South Australia, made his debut against Tasmania and will wear a Baggy Green at some point.  Victoria’s Will
Sutherland is another teenager who is on a career path towards the Australian team.

There are no guarantees, or timescales, on any of these players but it is encouraging that the future looks bright for Australia.

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