Top End T20 Challenge
Top End T20 Challenge
Kudos to NT Cricket for the coverage.
Scroll down for the Shaun Tait video.
With the Champions League T20 looming in just a few days distance the two Australian participants Victorian Bushrangers and South Australian Redbacks as well as their more than worthy sparring partners Queensland Bulls crossed swords in Darwin in order to provide the CL teams with form and fine fettle. Six matches were played altogether as the teams clashed twice each in a sort of double round-robin competition.
The Redbacks stormed into the tournament with foam before their mouths. They had to take a humiliating defeat against the Vics in the Big Bash final and my hopes were so-so, but they convincingly beat the Bushrangers in the opening match as well as in their second encounter. Their rampage got halted by the Queenslanders, but when Redbacks and Bulls locked horns in the re-match the Redbacks strolled to victory with ease. This was the only defeat the Bulls had to suffer, as they won both their matches against the Bushrangers as well.
Which unfortunately but logically means that the Bushrangers couldn't celebrate a single victory in this mini tournament. I'm certainly a die-hard Redbacks supporter but of course I wish both Aussie teams to do as well as possible in South Africa, and the outcome of the warm-up tourny leaves me a little bit worried now.
Not sure which line-up exactly the Vics are sending there, I hope the absolutely essential Andrew McDonald will be available, Peter Siddle is back in the ring and has probably already packed his axe and chopping block into his suitcase, and the rest of the team consists more or less of experienced T20 warhorses; Nannes, Dussey and Klint will have to be in the form of their lives, hopefully they can drive the bad spirits out and start a bushfire!
The Redbacks, despite looking depleted on paper due to a massive lack of Cosgrove, Blizzard, Christian and partially Tait, flexed their muscles and especially their attack mauled the opposition, thereby helping the flourishing and gutsy chieftain Michael Klinger and deputee Callum Ferguson to lead the team home. It was great to see the likes of Haberfield, George and Duval shred through the batsmen, but we have to consider that the enemy in Saffaland will be of a different calibre.
However, small tender moments of bliss, such as the captain Klinger fearlessly leading from the front and the old skipper Graham Manou happily smashing the bowlers across the park, alternated with mental monkey madness for instance the double wicket maiden for Peter George and figures of 3-2-2-4, and you can sense that I am utterly satisfied with the outcome of these warm-ups.
A quick word about the Queenslanders: Jason Floros and Alister McDermott in the wickets! Good to know the kids are still around and kicking.
Here's a recent video of Shaun Tait speaking ahead of the Champions League T20 and retrospectively lauding Kieron Pollard and Mark Cosgrove *sneeef* He points out that the Saussies could be the sleeping giants of the tournament and I think it would be awesome if the Redbacks could surprise everybody in a dark horses sort of role. Shaun also gets an extra cookie for his endless eulogy on Dan Christian and the loyalty to his homies.
On a side note:
Check out the latest Hants blog, in which half-tracker, our much valued Hants brain on legs, generously grants us a closer look at Phil Hughes' impressive maiden appearance for Hampshire.
That's all for now,
gehabt euch wohl,