South Australia scored a surprise outright win in its Shield match with Victoria which finished on Monday, thanks primarily to 12 wickets for the match from paceman Gary Putland, but it would probably be an even bigger shock if they stopped the juggernaut that is the Bushrangers’ one-day outfit.
Forgetting a first-up loss to the Warriors in Perth, Victoria’s batting in the 50-over format has been nothing short of phenomenal. It started with 2/379 at the ‘Gabba against Queensland, followed up by 6/348 against Tassie. The Bushrangers then chased down WA’s target of 181 in just 33 overs with one wicket down before the granddaddy of them all, reeling in the Blues’ score of 350 in 46.4 overs at North Sydney Oval earlier this month.
Those scores have been built around the power hitting of opener Aaron Finch, who has two tons and a brace of fifties in five games this year. In that four-game winning streak, the Vics have averaged almost 90 off the first 15 overs in their innings and 116 for the opening stand . Those brilliant first-wicket partnerships with Rob Quiney and Chris Rogers have laid the platform for the likes of David Hussey – who has two centuries to his credit in 2012/13 – to monster attacks in the middle and latter overs. The Bushrangers have cleared the ropes at an average of almost 12 times per match during their winning run; in comparison, the Redbacks have hit just ten 6s across the season to date.
That’s not to begrudge what Darren Berry’s team has achieved to date in sitting second on the ladder with three wins from four starts. Phil Hughes has revelled in one-day cricket since his move to the Adelaide Oval with one century and a fifty already at an average of 83, and he has formed an excellent opening partnership with veteran Michael Klinger . South African Johan Botha has been excellent with the ball picking up nine wickets this season, as has promising quick Kane Richardson, who destroyed the Bulls with a six-wicket haul a few weeks back.
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