Western Australia kicks off the Marsh One-Day Cup in a battle against South Australia in Adelaide on Wednesday.
The side has been one of the most dominant in the one day format over recent times, only missing the final once in the last four seasons.
With a strong squad once again, the sandgropers will hoping to return to the top of the table and take home the trophy.
Western Australia faced off against New South Wales in last season’s final, bowled for 149 after 40.3 overs.
It was a fair humiliation for a side that only lost one of their four matches across their fixtures, the original game against New South Wales being abandoned.
The final wasn’t WA’s worst batting performance of the Cup however, going out for 143 after just 31.5 overs against Queensland earlier in their run.
These poor scores came as a stark contrast to the games where they showed the complete opposite: 5/369 against South Australia, 7/259 against Tasmania (in a thriller) and out for 317 against Victoria.
Cam Green put in the best individual batting performance of the campaign, with 144 off 101 balls faced in a match against South Australia which saw WA win with just four balls remaining.
As for bowlers, Joel Paris bowled 4/21 against Victoria at an incredible 2.93 economy while Jason Behrendorff bowled 3/33 against Tasmania.
Games like those two showed just how strong WA could be on with ball in hand, but then also managed to gift a team like South Australia (who struggled at the crease across the season) its highest score of the year.
An experienced line-up throughout the top and middle batting order should see WA as a scoring threat that every other state will be keeping a close eye on.
Josh Inglis has been putting up strong innings as both a top and middle order batsman for the London Spirit (in the Hundred) and Leicestershire in the County Championship, in addition to his keeping which has earned him a call up to the T20 World Cup squad.
Despite going out for two on a couple of recent occasions, Inglis has also racked up hauls of 55 off 43 balls and 72 off 45 balls.
With players including Shaun and Mitch Marsh, Cam Bancroft, and Cam Green lining up across the top and middle of the batting order, their season should start with a bang.
The first choice bowling line-up featuring two national level bowlers, one spin and one pace, looms as a scary prospect for anyone stepping onto the crease.
Jhye Richardson’s return from injury timeline is currently unclear, but there will be plenty of eyes on him as he makes his return to one day cricket.
Richardson hasn’t played a one dayer at all since March of 2020, where he didn’t take a single wicket across 10 overs against South Africa. While he did bowl 36 dot balls, his form in the IPL pre-injury also left a lot to be desired.
The bowling line up is strong in theory, but could fall apart without Richardson performing.
Joel Paris was a joy to watch across WA’s previous One Day Cup campaign, and alongside Ashton Agar should make for a good mix of a consistent rotation between pace and spin.
Cam Bancroft was similarly patchy over in the UK, caught for less than 30 runs on more than a few occasions as he struggled to put up scores early in the middle order.
All eyes will be on youngster Cam Green, the all-rounder raring to show what he can do at state level.
Player to watch
Josh Inglis is the man on everyone’s minds ahead of the start of the T20 World Cup.
The wicketkeeper currently averages 33.71 with the bat across one day matches, with a highest tally of 91. While his strong patch of form has come across T20 cricket, he should be hoping to translate that to the One-Day Cup.
Without Stoinis’ firepower available, Inglis will be crucial in the top of the batting order.
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Ashton Agar, Cam Green, and Jhye Richardson all currently hold Cricket Australia contracts, and could find themselves called up for the test against Afghanistan in November, if it goes ahead.
With this test looking increasingly unlikely, all three should remain available through the entirety of the One-Day Cup.
Agar, Josh Inglis and Marcus Stoinis have also been named in the T20 World Cup squad, set to begin their campaign in Abu Dhabi against South Africa on October 23.
Though it is unclear when currently un-fixtured matches are set to be played, the tournament typically runs for just under two months and is assumedly due to wrap up before the beginning of the Big Bash League on December 5.
The losses of Inglis will likely leave a gap in the top of the batting order, but with the depth available, this can be hopefully remedied. Stoinis won’t be available for selection any time soon, playing with the Delhi Capitals in the IPL.
Expect some early teething issues from the players who are returning to the side either out of form or from injury.
South Australia is the perfect side to come up against again, after their struggles to put up big runs in the last One-Day Cup. However, WA will be leaning on its bowling squad, with a poor performance last season.
Green and Inglis should make for plenty of excitement, while having Agar available up until the World Cup should be taken advantage of as much as possible.
The losses of Agar and Inglis later in the campaign will hurt, particularly if WA is faced with the prospect of a firing New South Wales once again.
Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green, Liam Guthrie, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Bryce Jackson, Matthew Kelly, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, David Moody, Lance Morris, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Corey Rocchiccioli, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman.
Rookies: Cooper Connolly, Sam Fanning, Jayden Goodwin, Bryce Jackson.
Ins: Corey Rocchiccioli, Cooper Connolly, Bryce Jackson.
Outs: Jake Carder (SA), Brad Hope (TAS), Liam O’Connor.
Predicted first XI
- Josh Inglis
- Shaun Marsh
- Mitch Marsh
- Ashton Turner
- Cameron Bancroft
- Cameron Green
- D’Arcy Short
- Ashton Agar
- Jhye Richardson
- Joel Paris
- Jason Behrendorff
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