Cricket Australia will push on with the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and NSW despite Will Sutherland testing positive to COVID-19.
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Victorian Bushrangers v Tasmanian Tigers
MELBOURNE CRICKET GROUND, FEBRUARY 3-6, 2016
Match 17 - VIC v TAS
|Tasmania Tigers 1st Inn||241 All Out|
|Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers 1st Inn||271 All Out|
|Tasmania Tigers 2nd Inn||228 All Out|
|Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers 2nd Inn||3/200|
|Victorian Bushrangers won the toss and elected to bowl|
|Victoria won by 7 wickets|
|Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers||Over:41.4 RR:4.80|
|Last Wicket:||White, CL, 30 (c:Triffitt b:Webster)|
|Current Partnership:||0 runs, 0 balls, RR:|
Despite both sides having a talented crop of players, the Victorian Bushrangers are top of the table, while the Tasmanian Tigers are on the bottom. Join The Roar for live scores of this Sheffield Shield match from 10:30am (AEDT).
It is telling how fiercely competitive the Sheffield Shield is that Victoria are top of the table despite only having two wins in five matches.
But the closeness of the Shield also means that a loss against Tasmania could see the Bushrangers fall to third on the table.
They also have to deal with the loss of a handful of their players, as Scott Boland, John Hastings, Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade having all been selected for the Australian ODI squad in New Zealand.
Still, they won’t be overly concerned, as the position they’re in has largely been manufactured by those still in their squad.
Victoria’s batting line-up has been filled with regular contributers, with newcomer Travis Head, along with Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis and Rob Quiney all among the top dozen run-scorers in the competition.
These batsmen will feel that they may have a good chance make big additions to their run tallies, as all of the three double-centuries hit this year have come against Tasmania.
With the ball, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson are returning, yet Victoria will still be heavily reliant on Fawad Ahmed.
Despite having fallen out of favour with the Australian selectors, Ahmed has continually impressed for Victoria this season, taking 15 wickets at 24.86.
He has been the one mainstay in a continually shifting Bushrangers bowling line-up and will relish the chance to take on a seemingly fragile Tasmanian batting side.
Tasmania, meanwhile, only lose two players to national duty, albeit key players George Bailey and James Faulkner.
They will be delighted their star bowler, Jackson Bird, has been allowed to play, even with the upcoming Tests in New Zealand.
Bird lies only behind Joe Mennie on the leading wicket-takers charts with 22 wickets in the competition, at an average of just 24. He has been given support by Andrew Fekete, who has 17 wickets, at the loose economy rate of 4.07.
With Ben Dunk and George Bailey the two highest run-scorers in the competition, with 595 and 543 runs respectively, it may seem batting was Tasmania’s stronger discipline.
But with Bailey absent, Tasmania don’t have anyone in their side with half as many runs as Ben Dunk. In fact, their third highest run-scorer, behind Bailey and Dunk, is Alex Doolan, who is currently averaging 27.37 in the Shield.
If their other batsmen don’t stand up, Tasmania will once more be heavily reliant on a stellar performance from Dunk.
Despite both sides having a few very talented players, Victoria have the greater depth and therefore are favourites.