One thing that has always frustrated me with the scheduling of cricket in Australia is that when the Australian side are playing Tests, the domestic sides are playing T20s.
With games to go in the regular season of the Ryobi Cup and the top three have already been decided.
Today Queensland will take on the Western Australian Warriors and New South Wales will take on the South Australian Redbacks.
Tasmania have finished their games and with no chance of making the finals would be on their way home, while Victoria have also finished their games and will be in the second vs third matchup against New South Wales.
Queensland have already won the minor premiership and get a little bit longer to recover before the final.
New South Wales and Victoria who will fight out the second vs third playoff at North Sydney Oval on Thursday for the right to play Queensland in the final on Sunday, which will also be played at North Sydney Oval.
So who will the team be that will face Queensland for the Ryobi Cup on Sunday – Victoria or New South Wales? The host state have one more game to play yet and will only have a two-day turnaround before the game.
However they have a ragingly in-form David Warner, who could easily take the game away from Victoria.
Opening with Peter Nevill, who has been more than happy just to rotate the strike to Warner, I would imagine if they could get the Blues off to a strong start on a flat deck with small boundaries then the Blues would be halfway to the victory.
Victoria’s openers Rob Quiney and Mark Stonis have both hit some decent run totals throughout the tournament and if they both click could also take their team a long way towards the victory.
There is no doubt the openers will have a massive role to play in the game, but the power of Warner tilts the battle of the openers in New South Wales’ favour.
The middle order
There is no question when looking at the middle orders, Victoria has one of the strongest middle orders in the competition.
The power and experience of players like Cameron White, Matthew Wade and David Hussey is just superior in a domestic competition and could easily be mistaken for an international middle order.
New South Wales also have some very experienced and very good players in their middle order however it is nothing compared to Victoria’s.
Steve Smith, Nic Maddison and Ben Rohrer are clearly the keys to the Blues middle order and if they are coming off the back of a big opening partnership then the platform will be built and their task suddenly becomes so much easier.
However if the openers fail, it will put a lot of pressure on the Blues’ middle order and it would be interesting to see if they were able to get the Blues to a good score like the Victorian middle order have already proved they can do in this tournament.
Both the bowling attacks are very good attacks with good bowlers and both teams with bowlers that have represented Australia.
New South Wales have used a number of bowlers during the competition, with pace bowlers like Doug Bollinger, Trent Copeland, Josh Hazelwood and Gurinder Sandhu.
They have also used Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe as their spinners during the competition.
It will be very interesting to see what sort of bowling attack they pick for the game.
At times all-rounder Sean Abott has also bowled very well and can be a pivotal part of the Blues’ attack.
Out of the Blues attack Nathan Lyon and Doug Bollinger are the most experienced with all the other bowlers able to contribute on most occasions to the wicket taking.
The Bushrangers’ attack is clearly led by Australia’s spearhead, Peter Siddle.
He is a great asset for the Bushrangers team and is backed up well by the rest of the attack which features John Hastings, Jon Holland and Scott Boland with back up from all-rounders David Hussey and Daniel Christian.
Both bowling attacks are very good attacks however Siddle probably throws the balance towards the Victorians.
If the Victorians were to win this game then it would be a repeat of last year’s final however whether the Blues can win this or not probably comes down to their opening batsman.
If Warner and Nevill have a big opening partnership then expect it to be the Blues taking on Queensland. If not, expect to see a repeat of last year’s final.
The other fact that could throw the game in New South Wales balance is the basic fact that it is in their home state and their home crowd could well urge them onto victory.