South Australia Redbacks Marsh One Day Cup

South Australia is looking towards a better Marsh Cup campaign this season. (Photo: cricket.com.au/Twitter)

After being unable to find a win last season, the South Australian Redbacks will be looking to have an improved Marsh Cup campaign.

South Australia opens its Marsh One-Day Cup campaign against Western Australia, looking to make a fast start early on after a lacklustre season last time around.

Coached by Jason Gillespie and captained by Travis Head, South Australia enters the next season of the Marsh Cup full of optimism that an uninterrupted pre-season can change its fortunes.

Off-season departures and retirements may impact the team’s cohesion but a fixed top order and deep bowling stocks should provide the Redbacks the chance to contest well.

Last season

South Australia had a season to forget in its last campaign, going through the year winless in five games. It was a tale of low scores and batting collapses that contributed to a deflating season for the Redbacks, unable to chase down large totals or having their totals easily chased down with plenty of overs to go.

In the opening match of South Australia’s Marsh Cup in 2021 against Western Australia, the side was cruising at 1/280, helped by contributions from Harry Nielsen (110) and Travis Head (142). Even at 4/322, the 370-run target seemed possible with just under six overs remaining but a collapse of 6/41 had the Redbacks falling short.

Harry Nielsen scored a century against Western Australia. (Photo: cricket.com.au/Twitter)

South Australia’s scores of 205 runs in a six wicket loss to New South Wales and 104 runs in a nine wicket loss to Tasmania were easily chased down in the 29th and 18th over respectively.

It documented an inability to post large totals, or restrict the opposition, something that was also apparent in a 161-run loss to Queensland too before a 21-run loss to Victoria ended the season.

Head (276 runs) and Nielson (197 runs) were attacking with the bat and fronted up most of the scoring for South Australia, each scoring a century and a 50 through the five matches.

On the bowling front, Wes Agar took the most wickets for the Redbacks, finishing with seven including best-figures of 3/46 in the final game of their season against Victoria.

Team strengths

The top order of the South Australian lineup will be is its biggest strength, the team’s top three – Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and Travis Head – each bearing plenty of experience.

Head was the Redbacks’ most prolific batsman at the top of the order last season, scoring 276 runs (with a high score of 142) at a strike rate of 135.29 and an average of 55.20.

In South Australia’s first match of the 2020/21 Marsh Cup, Harry Nielsen and Head combined for a competition-high 226-run stand against Western Australia. It was a partnership, shown early on, that highlighted the team’s ability to combine well for a good start, something it will look to continue this season.

Carey contributed 136 runs with the bat, including a score of 99 against New South Wales while Weatherald wasn’t far behind, putting up 134 runs at an average of 26.80, being an attacking force and finding the boundary multiple times.

Key players

Queenslander Brendan Doggett will be a welcome addition to South Australia’s bowling stocks this season and will replace the departing Chadd Sayers in the lineup. The fast bowler brings a wealth of title-winning experience to the squad, having been involved in Queensland’s Sheffield Shield-winning 2020/21 season where he took 22 wickets at an average of 26.81.

Brendan Doggett was a big reason Queensland won the 2020/21 Sheffield Shield. (Photo: Queensland Cricket)

As well, Dan Worrall will be giving it his all on the field with the ball in hand, looking to end his time in South Australia on a positive as he prepares to play country cricket with Surrey. Worrall was South Australia’s second-highest wicket-taker of last season with four wickets – but an equal team-high-best economy rate of 5.87.

Player to watch

There are many youngsters in the South Australian squad looking to find a spot in the starting 11. However, the development of spinner, and allrounder Samuel Kerber looms an exciting prospect for the Redbacks after debuting against Queensland, and playing against Victoria as well.

In his debut, he was smacked around the park a bit, ending the day with figures of 0/66 off eight overs. In the field, he ran out Matthew Renshaw and when it came to his time at the crease, made three runs with the bat.

Against Victoria, he celebrated his first wicket, that of Nic Maddinson and finished with figures of 1/70 from a full 10 overs. He was more attacking at the crease than in his previous game too, hitting three fours and a six towards a 23-run innings before getting out.

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Who’s in for national selection?

Bowler Kane Richardson is set to play the opening stages of the Marsh Cup after opting out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League. However, he will be heading to the United Arab Emirates next month after being selected into Australia’s T20 World Cup squad.

Wicketkeeper Alex Carey joined the national team for the recent tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh, however was overlooked for the T20 World Cup squad. Nonetheless, he may present as a backup option for the possible impending Test against Afghanistan should captain Tim Paine be unavailable.

Batsman Travis Head, despite being dropped from the Test team earlier in the year, could be lost late in the season should he warrant selection again, for the one-off Test match against Afghanistan, and then the Ashes against England.

Season predictions

It’s expected that the Redbacks may struggle yet again with an evolving team list and the loss of experienced players like Callum Ferguson and Tom Cooper.

For the Redbacks though, the only way is up and to begin against Western Australia again will be a good test to see how far they’ve come since the corresponding match last season.

The batting side of the lineup is exciting to watch and works well but a more measured approach at the crease will allow for greater, even contributions to post competitive totals, or chase large totals.

South Australia only took 23 wickets all last season so that part of its game will be the most crucial. It’s also where the team may struggle once more but Wes Agar, Dan Worrall and Brendan Doggett will be leading the attack and hoping for more chances to take wickets.

Full squad

Wes Agar, Jake Carder, Alex Carey, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Ryan Gibson, David Grant, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Samuel Kerber, Jake Lehmann, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen, Tim Oakley, Lloyd Pope, Kane Richardson, Liam Scott, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter, Dan Worrall

Rookies: Kyle Brazell, Jordan Buckingham, Bailey Capel, Corey Kelly, Thomas Kelly

In: Brendan Doggett, Nathan McSweeney, Nathan McAndrew, Jake Carder, Sam Kerber, Ryan Gibson

Out: Callum Ferguson (retired), Chadd Sayers (retired), Tom Cooper, Brad Davis, Conor McInerney, Luke Robins, Cameron Valente

Predicted first XI

  1. Alex Carey (wk)
  2. Jake Weatherald
  3. Travis Head
  4. Ryan Gibson
  5. Harry Nielson
  6. Jake Lehmann
  7. Samuel Kerber
  8. Kane Richardson
  9. Nathan McAndrew
  10. Dan Worrall
  11. Wes Agar

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