Bruised Vics confident of hitting back
Victoria must remedy its awful weekend batting performance tonight to stand a chance of claiming a fourth consecutive KFC Big Bash title.
Victoria squandered an impressive bowling effort in restricting NSW to 8-128 at the weekend by limping to 9-126 in reply.
It must now defeat Queensland at the Gabba tonight to reach Saturday night's Twenty20 final.
"We were delighted with our bowling and fielding effort for that half of the (NSW) game, so therefore pretty confident, (but) certainly not cocky or complacent," Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd said yesterday.
Four of the Victorian dismissals were run-outs.
"Given that (running between wickets) was a thing that we'd done very well in previous games … to have so many was a major disappointment," he said.
"I think the strong message is that there's no panic in the camp. The selectors have shown faith in the group of 13 they took to Sydney, which can hopefully get the job done."
Victorian spin duo Bryce McGain and Jon Holland bowled solidly on their return to the team at the weekend, although the lack of success for spinners at the Gabba in limited-overs matches this season — a two-wicket haul by Queensland captain Chris Simpson is the best result — may persuade selectors to drop one of them for all-rounder John Hastings.
The Bulls stunned Victoria with a six-wicket win in Geelong earlier this month and Shipperd said the Bushrangers had to stop No. 3 batsman Lee Carseldine, who made an unbeaten 64 in the Geelong match and has been the dominant player of the Big Bash competition.
"You'd obviously hope to either dismiss him early or adjust your lines and your bowling plans to him, (but) I'm not about to reveal those subtle changes," he said.
While Victoria has named an unchanged side, Queensland has made two changes to its side, promoting Ryan Broad and recent Australian one-day debutant Ryan Harris in place of Clinton Perren and Aaron Nye.
Holland, a 22-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner, received a boost yesterday when told he had been selected in the Prime Minister's XI to take on New Zealand on January 29.
His Victorian teammate, Clint McKay, will also play in the invitational team, which will be captained by former Australian Test opener Justin Langer and feature NSW Test aspirant Phil Hughes.