I’m sure others would agree that the Redbacks’ monumental chase of 350 against the Warriors during the week left you feeling somewhat surprised.
Western Australia have a pretty strong side on paper, and a highly potent bowling attack, however the South Australians easily hunted the large total down.
Things were at the other end of the spectrum on Thursday however. After holding the Blues to a gettable score of 266, the Redbacks flopped dramatically being routed for just 110.
And to me this highlighted deficiencies and lack of depth in their batting line-up.
They can thank both Travis Head and Callum Ferguson for guiding them home in game one against the Warriors; contributing 314 of the total between them. Super talented youngster Travis Head completed a phenomenal double century, while the reliable Ferguson finished unbeaten on 112 at almost a run-a-ball.
It was the opposite almost in the second contest though against New South Wales. Head was dismissed with the first ball of the innings failing to keep out a Mitchell Starc yorker which, to be honest, would have probably beaten most international batsmen too. Later on Ferguson fell after scoring a solitary run.
And it became evident that without hefty contributions from these two and even the experienced Tom Cooper, this South Australian side may struggle to post sizeable totals. And I think from it you could say the underlying problem is a lack of depth and quality.
Keeper Tim Ludeman is capable of striking balls to the boundary and scoring his runs quickly, while Alex Ross and Sam Raphael are still only relatively fresh and inexperienced to the domestic stage.
Let’s not ignore the fact however this was a star-studded Blues bowling attack charging in.
I just can’t help wonder where the runs will come from without the three star batsmen mentioned. Adam Zampa is a bowling all-rounder at best, and while he can blast balls to the boundary, I’m not convinced he is really a number seven.
So, where has all the batting gone?
It’s very important to point out how different and tougher it is for the South Australian side to post big totals without the late Phillip Hughes in their side. Hughes’ domestic form as we know, was quite brilliant before his unbelievably tragic passing.
The effect of this can’t be undermined in terms of an on-field impact, Hughes was well on the verge of another international call-up last November. It still feels surreal to think he’s not out there in this team, and won’t be again.
Imagine how much more dangerous this side could look had he still be with us.
Then there’s Mark Cosgrove. The tubby left-hander made the move back to his original side, yet was left out of selection for the Matador Cup team. There will be opportunities presented to him again sometime soon you would think, and perhaps his omission is designed to give young up and comers like Raphael and Ross a big opportunity.
Cosgrove has been piling on first class runs in the County ring, and if he was unable to add more value to the Redbacks it would go down as such a waste of ability – perhaps the theme of his career.
If the big three mentioned in Head the young captain, Ferguson and Cooper and regularly contribute big numbers, the Redbacks may just cause a bit of a stir for the rest of this tournament. They have already shown an ability to run down large totals, however so much rests on the shoulders of these guys, they are now very heavily relied upon.