Thursday, March 15, 2012

Preview, Sheffield Shield Final, Queensland versus Tasmania, GABBA


This Final of the Sheffield Shield sets up a fitting clash between two evenly matched Teams in a competition that showcased some fabulously skilled Cricket culminating in 4 sides vying for a place in the Final as the last round of games started. Ultimately, Queensland and Tasmania got through to play for the Shield with the former having the advantage of home conditions for finishing the season on top of the table, and only having to draw the match to win the title.

The game itself should be an absolute cracker with some of Australia's brightest stars appearing in it, and then a living legend in Ricky Ponting hoping to win his first domestic trophy for Tasmania. Duly lets look at it in greater depth.

Queensland Bulls

Likely Team

The Bulls have been delivered a blow with their bowling spearhead Ben Cutting being ruled out of the Final. A bowler that when fit has devastated this season with 36 wickets at 18.75, and then also played some crucial lower order knocks with the bat. They can cover him with the ball especially with Ryan Harris returning from national duty, but his lower order batting will be missed.

Meaning the side will be the same as the Team that put South Australia to the sword 

Townsend, Kemp, Robinson, Burns, Lynn, Hopes (C), Hartley( wk), Harris, Magoffin, McDermott, Boyce.

The Keys for Queensland to Win
Class- Joe Burns
The main issue for the Bulls going into this Final is how will their batting go in conditions that will favour bowlers and against a Tasmanian attack that is full of class?

Adding doubt over this is the fact that only one of their batsmen in Joe Burns has averaged over 40 for the season with the rest returning figures of 37 and below. Also with only 7 centuries scored for the season with 3 belonging to Peter Forrest, who is in the Caribbean and 2 to Burns.

Duly it makes you question the Teams ability to post enough runs to win the Final. A heavy burden to make this happen will fall on all the batsmen to lift especially young players like Chris Lynn who have been labelled as future Australian players.

The rest of the batting needs to find away to perform for if they can the bowling unit that Queensland possess is potentially devastating.

Especially with the returning Ryan Harris, who on a bowling friendly pitch could make any batting line up in the World look second rate. Then in support Steve Magoffin and Alister McDermott have been fabulous performers all season long, and the Captain James Hopes his typical bug hearted self.

Rounding out the attack is the young leg spinner Cam Boyce, who looks to have a Baggy Green in his future. A leg spinner of attacking intent that gets better by the game. Look for him in this game to be a factor!

Tasmania Tigers

Likely Team

The Tigers were brilliant in their surge into the Final with them crushing a Western Australian Team that had sit atop the table for most of the Season. Adding to this exceptional effort was the fact that the Squad was beset by a virus in the lead up to the game that cost many of its regulars. 

The only change you can see happening is the incumbent keeper Tom Triffett replacing Brady Jones. Leaving the Team as follows

Cowan, Cazullino, Doolan, Ponting ( C ), Cosgrove, Faulkner, Triffett ( wk ), Butterworth, Krejza, Drew, Bird

The Key for Tasmania to Win
In truth this clash is between two sides that are very similar in regard to having their success fuelled by their exceptional bowling attacks.

The key difference in favour of the Tigers is the fact that they have experience and a batting line up that is proven in similar conditions that will be apparent in this Final.

Plus depth in their batting with a host of bowling all rounders and tail enders that have been consistent in scoring crucial runs.

Ultimately if the Tassie batting can perform at the level it has all Season it should provide the platform for their excellent bowling to victimise Queensland's rather fragile batting.

A lot will depend on  Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting in the top four to provide the setting for this to become a reality. Both have been thorns in every bowling units sides all season, and Cowan is that old style opening batsman that is perfectly suited to play a decisive knock in difficult conditions.

Outside of these two, look for Mark Cosgrove to play the type of knock that would pay homage to his immense ability.

If the batting can be at its usually efficient self it is hard to see the Queensland batting having enough quality to withstand a bowling unit with real skill and balance.

The pace trio of Luke Butterworth and Jackson Bird have been destructive all season, and then the left arm swing and seam of James Faulkner is of the highest calibre.

Rounding out the attack is the off spinner Jason Krejza and the 4th pace man, which is likely to be Brendan Drew. Both cannot be under estimated either.

Duly, the Tigers have a Team of all round quality that if it performs to its potential should win the game.

Prediction

The teams have a similar make up in regards to being lead by their brilliant bowling units, but the key difference is the difference in the Teams batting. In this regard, the Tigers have a very decent batting line up, and the Bulls a rather fragile one.

Throw in the Tigers edge in experience and their familiarity with the types of condition that will be in place in the Final and they should win the title

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