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The Roar


The history of Australian domestic limited-overs cricket: Part 4 (2001/02 to 2009/10)

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Roar Guru
6th February, 2023

The 2000s saw an unprecedented era of stability in the domestic limited overs scene. The format decided on in the final year of the Mercantile Mutual Cup (2000/01) remained in place for the next ten seasons, through the ING Cup and Ford Ranger Cup years. The short-lived Canberra Comets had been jettisoned and fans were treated to a 31-match double round-robin season.

Crowds were pretty good, highlighted by over 13,000 seeing WA win the final in 2003/04, however by 2009/10 the format was starting to struggle and has never really recovered.

Unusually, 2003/04 was WA’s only success of the era, with NSW (3 titles) Tasmania (3) and Queensland (2) dominating. Equally unusual, NSW’s three titles were also accompanied by four wooden spoons, ahead of two each for South Australia and Tasmania. Victoria were the definition of middle-of-the-road in this period, neither finishing first nor last in any season. They finished runners-up no less than four times in a row between 2006/07 and 2009/10, before finally breaking through in their fifth consecutive final.

South Australia’s Darren Lehman started the 2000s by winning player of the series in both 2000/01 and 2001/02. Others to take the prize in this era included Justin Langer (WA), Brad Hodge (VIC) (twice), James Hopes (QLD), Mark Cosgrove (SA), Matthew Elliott (twice for SA) and Shane Harwood (VIC).

The powerful NSW lineup won three titles in a row between 2000/01 and 2002/03, an era dominated by such players as finisher deluxe Michael Bevan, former Canberra star Brad Haddin, left-arm bowler Nathan Bracken, and leg spinner Stuart MacGill. Not the first player I would think of to keep runs down, MacGill nevertheless topped the competition’s wickets for three out of four years to start the 2000s.

Year by Year

In 2001/02 NSW defeated Queensland by just 19 runs in a low-scoring final. Dominic Thornley’s three wickets for 26 runs and 20 not out were good enough for the player of the match in a game where no one scored more than Martin Love’s 53.


Most series runs: Mike Hussey (WA) 440. Most series wickets: Stuart MacGill (NSW) 21, a new series record.

2002/03 was a much more comfortable win for The Blues, flogging WA by seven wickets with more than 23 overs to spare. This match was played with all international players available, so NSW boasted an attack of Doug Bollinger, Stuart Clark (player of the match), Nathan Bracken and Stuart MacGill, followed by a batting lineup including Simon Katich, Brad Haddin, Steve and Mark Waugh, Michael Clarke and Michael Slater. WA lost 5 wickets in their first 15 overs to end the contest.

Most series runs: Greg Blewett (SA) 486. Most series wickets: Jo Angel (WA) 21.

Steve Waugh

Steve Waugh (Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images)

WA made amends in 2003/04, defeating Queensland in a tight tussle. After Jimmy Maher and Stuart Law put on a 100-opening partnership in 12 overs, Queensland contrived to be bowled out for just 244, with WA’s player of the match Kade Harvey taking four wickets. WA then struggled mightily against a strong Queensland attack slumping to 6 for 173 with ten overs to go, before Harvey and Darren Wates steered them home with two balls to spare.

Most series runs: Stuart Law (QLD) 570 – a new record. Most series wickets: Stuart MacGill (NSW) 20.

Queensland were runners up for the third time in four years in 2004/05, this time to Tasmania. NSW great Michael Bevan moved south and scored a series high 519 runs. Jimmy Maher’s 104 in the final got him the player of the match award, but an even Tasmanian batting performance produced a comfortable seven-wicket win, with Bevan (of course) and Daniel Marsh not out at the finish.


Most series wickets: Shaun Tait (SA) 21.

In 2005/06, NSW’s Phil Jacques set a new record for series runs (683) that still stands, to propel NSW to another title. He hit four centuries including a pair of unbeaten 150s during the season, but NSW were very nearly derailed by an extraordinary performance in the final from SA speedster Shaun Tait. NSW had destroyed SA’s batting, dismissing them for just 154 including ducks for stars Greg Blewett and Callum Ferguson. In response Tait took six of the first seven wickets to fall in NSW’s innings (with the other being a run out), reducing the Blues to 7/135. But Tait had finished his ten overs and a very nervy Moises Henriques and Stuart MacGill guided a traumatised NSW to the title.

Most series wickets: Peter Worthington (WA) 16.

In 2006/07 SA’s Matthew Elliott was player of the series, despite Queensland pair Clinton Perren (470) and James Hopes (20) topping the series runs and wickets respectively, and the northerners defeating Victoria in the final. Captain Jimmy Maher scored 108 in the final with Perren chipping in with 75 to set a 275-run target. Victoria fell 21 runs short of victory, thanks to unheralded Aaron Nye taking three wickets with his slow mediums, including David Hussey and Cameron White.

In 2007/08 Tasmania won their third-ever title, falling over the line in the last over against Victoria, with one wicket to spare. Victoria’s strong batting lineup could only manage 158. The likes of Rob Quiney, Michael Klinger, Brad Hodge, David Hussey and Cameron White were helpless as player of the match Brett Geeves along with Ben Hilfenhaus and Xavier Doherty shared ten wickets. Rain affected the chase leaving Tasmania to get 131 from 31 overs. They made super hard work of it, falling from 5/109 to 9/128 before Travis Birt (37 not out) hit the winning runs.

Most series runs: Michael Dighton (TAS) 549. Most series wickets: Bryce McGain (VIC), Brett Geeves, Xavier Doherty and Brad Drew (all TAS) 15.

The NSW Blues in the Sheffield Shield.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)


In 2008/09 Victoria lost their third tight final in a row, this time to Queensland. Shane Harwood took 24 wickets for the season to break the competition record and was named player of the series. To this day, Harwood and Mitchell Starc are the only specialist bowlers to receive the honour. He was great in the final too, taking out both Queensland’s openers and giving up only 23 runs as Queensland crashed to 187, only reaching this thanks to a 54-run last-wicket partnership between Chris Hartley and Chris Swann. Victoria’s batting lineup however came up short, bowled out for 175 due to player of the match Nathan Rimmington’s four wickets plus three from Ben Laughlin.

Most series runs: Lee Carseldine (QLD) 477.

In 2009/10 Victoria closed out this era with their fourth runners-up trophy in a row, this time being absolutely smashed by a rampant Tasmanian side. Victoria’s Brad Hodge was the stand-out player of the series, with four centuries and 622 runs, but on the big day, it was the opening pair of Michael Dighton (an underrated player for the Tigers in this format) and Tim Paine (player of the match with 100) that put on a 132 run opening stand in 26 overs. They were backed up by noted hitter Ed Cowan with 61 from 55 balls to post over 300. Victoria were never in the hunt as Gerard Denton picked up 5 wickets.

Most series wickets: Xavier Doherty (TAS) 20. Doherty got on a roll in February and his consecutive efforts of 4 for 28 and 4 for 35 against QLD and WA played a major role in helping Tasmania reach the final.

Other stand-out performances of the era


Ian Harvey (VIC) vs Queensland.


Harvey got Victoria off to a flyer with 72 from 66 balls. Somehow they subsided from 1/122 at nearly a run a ball to finish with 9/222. Queensland were cruising to the victory target until Harvey came on and took out Jimmy Maher, Stuart Law and James Hopes while giving up just 19 runs from his ten overs. Nevertheless, Queensland just fell over the line in the last over with nine wickets down.

Ian Hewitt (VIC) vs. WA. Victoria were staring down the barrel of defeat after posting just 210 in their 50 overs. Little-known bowler Ian Hewitt dismissed Chris Rogers, Murray Goodwin, Simon Katich and Mike Hussey to leave WA 4 for 39 after 14 overs. Hewitt finished with 4 for 22 and WA finished 10 runs short.

In the return match in Perth, the tables were turned. After Simon Katich produced a masterful century to drag WA to 234, Jo Angel took five wickets for just 16 runs as the entire Tasmanian team only just managed to match Katich’s 118.

Corey Richards (NSW) vs WA. Richards upstaged his international teammates and scored 151 out of his entire team’s total of 267 to help NSW to a tight 4-run win over WA.


Brad Haddin (NSW) vs TAS.

Chasing a modest 228 for victory, NSW struggled to 4/118 after 33 overs (going at just 3.5 runs per over). On a pitch that no one else could master, Haddin came in and walloped 70 from just 48 balls to get the run rate back on par, only to have NSW suffer three run-outs in the last four overs. Haddin himself was dismissed from the third last ball of the innings with two runs still to get. Nathan Bracken was run out on the final ball going for the winning run leaving the match tied.


Lee Carseldine (QLD) vs. TAS. Carseldine took four wickets for six runs from four overs as Tasmania were bowled out for just 83 (in a later match the Golden Arm also took two for four from three overs against SA).

Later that season QLD went even better, taking down Victoria for just 65 runs to win by ten wickets. Then in the very next game that season Tasmania dismissed SA for only 51. Not a great year for batting.


Shaun Tait (SA) vs TAS.

Tasmania scored 250 in Adelaide and the target was chased down by SA with three wickets in hand and one ball to spare. The amazing part of this match is that the SA bowling in Tasmania’s innings consisted of seven bowlers taking a collective 2/200 and the terrifying Shaun Tait taking 8 /43 all by himself. Nine wides, four no balls and 70 balls of pure exhilaration. 19 years later it is still the best bowling figures in domestic one-day history.

John Davidson (SA) vs TAS.

Defending just 239, SA turned to off-spinner John Davidson with Tasmania cruising at 3/149. Davidson took the next five wickets for 26 runs, including having Tassie opener Michael Dighton stumped for 113, to destroy the chase.


Justin Langer (WA) vs. QLD.

Queensland would have felt very comfortable having posted 297, with Martin Love stroking 110 from 98 balls. But WA got there with nearly four overs to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 117 from Chris Rogers and a rapid-fire 106 from just 79 balls – not from Ryan Campbell or Adam Gilchrist, but from Justin Langer.

Jimmy Maher (QLD) vs WA.

Queensland broke through the 400 barrier against WA. Stuart Law hit 95 from 69 balls in an opening partnership of 194 in 22 overs and fellow opener Jimmy Maher didn’t stop there, finishing with a competition record 187 from just 129 balls.

Former Australian cricketer Justin Langer pictured during an Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Presentation at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 27, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images for the Australian Cricketers' Association

(Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images for the Australian Cricketers’ Association


Daniel Marsh (TAS) vs WA.


Tasmania were wobbling at 3/62 when Daniel Marsh came out and belted 106 not out from 90 balls to get his side to 270. Marsh then bowled ten overs for just 27 runs conceded as WA fell 62 runs short in the chase.

Andrew Symonds and James Hopes (Queensland) vs TAS.

Queensland’s late great Andrew Symonds took 3/45 as Tasmania were restricted to 8/207 from 50 overs. Queensland chased this down in just 24 overs, thanks to Symonds smacking 62 from just 35 runs. He was ably assisted by James Hopes who took 2/49 and smashed 73 from 46 balls.

Andy Bichel (Queensland) vs. NSW.

Queensland sent opening bowler Andy Bichel in at first drop as a pinch hitter. He responded with 62 from 67 balls as Queensland scored 267, then bowled eight overs for the brilliant figures of 2/11 as NSW were dismissed for just 146.

Greg Blewett (SA) vs NSW.

Blewett defeated NSW almost single-handedly. Opening the batting he scored 125 out of a total of 286 and then took four wickets for 16 runs with his wobbly medium pacers as NSW fell for 199.



Phil Jacques (NSW) vs Queensland and SA.

Jacques batted through NSW’s innings for 152 not out, from a total of 274. 2005/06 was the season of Jacques, later again batting through with 158 from 141 balls against SA.

Cameron White (VIC) vs Queensland.

Victorian captain Cameron White contributed 85 out of a total of 294. Victoria won by 12 runs, with White taking four wickets for just 23 runs.

Andrew Symonds

Andrew Symonds (Getty Images)



Cameron Borgas (SA) vs NSW.

Little-known Borgas hit a scarcely believable 31 not out from just nine deliveries as SA chased down NSW’s target of 267 from 43 overs with two balls to spare. Borgas scored 31 from the final 33-run partnership with Graeme Manou.

James Hopes (Queensland) vs NSW and SA.

Queensland all-rounder James Hopes opened the batting and scored 102 out of the team total of 262, with no other batsman passing 40. He then took 3/40 as NSW were bowled out for 197. Later in the season Hopes scored 74 and took four wickets for 38 from ten overs in a losing cause against SA.

Dominic Thornley (NSW) vs WA.

NSW put on a middling 267, with Thornley scoring 60 from 81 balls. With WA needing eight from the final over, part timer Thornley was called on to bowl his very first over of the match and proceeded to take two wickets to secure victory by a single run.



Ryan Harris (SA) and Shane Harwood (VIC).

SA’s Harris took five wickets for 58 runs to restrict Victoria to 263. He was trumped by Victoria’s Harwood who took five of his own for 45 as SA fell 16 runs short in the chase.

SA’s Matthew Elliott (133) and Darren Lehman (126) put on an unbeaten 236-run partnership to chase down a tough WA target of 305 with three overs to spare. They were matched later that season by Tasmanian duo Michael Dighton (146) and Ricky Ponting (111) who took their team from 1/3 to 1/266 to chase down NSW’s 264 in just 45 overs.

Mark Divin (TAS) vs Queensland.

Chasing Tasmania’s 280, Queensland’s opening pair of Jimmy Maher and James Hopes each scored centuries as Queensland cruised to 211 in the 27th over. The last 69 runs took another 20 overs and eight wickets as little-known Mark Divin took four middle-order wickets to nearly snatch the game. He only took another eight wickets in his entire career.

Tim Paine (TAS) vs SA.

Paine scored 115 from 130 balls to get his side to 277. The value of these runs soon became apparent as only one other player from either side reached 30 (Michel Dighton – 44). Tasmania won by 121 runs.


David Hussey (VIC) vs NSW.

In the final match of the regular season, David Hussey went into beast mode, smashing 113 runs from just 64 balls, including eight sixes as the Vic’s scored 352 and flogged NSW by 64 runs to make the final (which they proceeded to lose).

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Tim Paine of Tasmania looks on during the Marsh One Day Cup match between Western Australia and Tasmania at the WACA on April 08, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)


Ben Laughlin (Queensland) vs NSW.

Queensland set NSW a target of 284 from 48 overs. NSW didn’t even get halfway thanks to the seventh bowler used by Queensland – Ben Laughlin – who took six wickets for just 23 runs from seven overs. These were the best bowling figures in the past four seasons and would not be matched again for another six years.

Theo Doropoulos (WA) vs TAS.


Chasing 212 from 43 overs, WA were starting to struggle at 4/73 after nearly 20 overs. Enter Theo Doropoulos. While his more well-known teammates contributed 125 runs from 180 balls, Theo belted 92 from 75. He was run out in the last over going for the winning run, but David Bandy smacked a 6 from the next ball to get WA home.

David Warner (NSW) vs TAS.

NSW chased down Tasmania’s 247 from 45 overs and did it for the loss of just one wicket and with more than 10 overs to spare, thanks to a spanking 165 not out from just 112 balls from David Warner, including 19 fours and nine sixes.


Various SA and Victorian batsmen.

SA put on a whopping 339, with Mark Cosgrove scoring 104 from 81 balls and Cameron Borgas 72 from just 39 deliveries. The Victorians fell 49 runs short despite a lone hand from the normally sedate Chris Rogers who scored 140 from just 116 deliveries.

James Pattinson (VIC) vs NSW.


After dismissing Victoria for just 188, NSW cruised to victory with five overs to spare, but not before young Victorian firebrand James Pattinson took all six wickets to fall, including Phil Jacques, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Moises Henriques and Steve Smith.

Dan Christian (SA) vs WA.

Dan Christian took 4/32 to help restrict WA to 228 from their 50 overs. He then finished off the chase with 48 runs from just 21 balls.

Phil Jacques (NSW) vs QLD.

Phil Jacques produced one of his regular big scores, reaching 171 not out from 143 balls out of a total of 293. NSW defeated Queensland by just six runs, despite all-rounder Ben Cutting taking 3/45 and scoring 42 not out from 18 balls in the chase.