The Matador BBQs series has reached the finals stage of the tournament with the seven-team competition now reduced to the final three. New South Wales finished the preliminary matches with a comfortable buffer on top of the table so they are straight through to Sunday’s Final, with Victoria set to take on South Australia in the Elimination Final on Friday.
South Australia are the surprise team in the finals. The Redbacks have defied their poor history in this tournament and despite having the third worst net run rate in the competition this year, they have produced some inspired play when it counted most.
South Australia’s run started in the very first match of the competition when they chased down Western Australia’s imposing target of 350. They did it with ease on the back of captain Travis Head’s mighty 202 from just 120 balls.
After a poor showing against New South Wales, South Australia followed up with another incredible victory with Alex Ross taking 18 runs off the last over to defeat Queensland by just one wicket.
However their most crucial, and relevant win, was against their Elimination Final opponents in Victoria. That match would see SA make an under-par 198, but they defended it grimly, bowling Victoria out for 181.
Kane Richardson was miserly that day with 3/23 and a lot will rely on him to lead an attack which lacks a lot of penetration. South Australia will again turn to Adam Zampa and youngster Tom Andrews to spin a web and restrict the opposition.
However South Australia’s strength is their young, dynamic batting. They have proven this tournament to be very hot and cold, but if Travis Head, Callum Ferguson, Jake Lehmann and Alex Ross get it right then they are going to be dangerous. It also bodes well for the future of SA cricket.
In contrast, Victoria bring a very experienced squad into the finals, with several international stars such as Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, Cameron White, Matthew Wade and James Pattinson. The fact that Australian representatives Clint McKay and Peter Siddle aren’t getting a look into this team speaks volumes for their strength. They even had the luxury of suspending Maxwell from the final round match due to a missed training session, even though it was a make or break match against Tasmania. Who will be dropped from that line up so that Maxwell can return will be the question with Rob Quiney or possibly Cameron White set to miss out.
Victoria had a strong win over the defending champions in WA, but their big victory was against New South Wales – the only team to defeat the Blues this season. In that match, Victoria rallied late on the back of skipper Matthew Wade to post 244 which they were able to defend. If the Bushrangers can post a score then they know they have a very strong and flexible bowling attack which will make it tough for the opposition to chase, especially on a wicket such as we’ve seen at Drummoyne Oval.
Victoria should be too strong for South Australia here. They have a classy, experienced line up that should stand tall in a finals environment. South Australia’s young batsmen are on the rise, but will find it tough against the quality Victorian attack.
Back Victoria to Win - $1.44 at William Hill
Travis Head over 19.5 runs - $1.87 at Sportsbet
Callum Ferguson Most Runs vs Cameron White - $1.95 at William Hill
Kane Richardson ($4.00) and Adam Zampa ($4.00) Most Wickets SA – combined odds of $3.00 at William Hill
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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