The New South Wales Blues concluded an outstanding Matador Cup with a dominant Grand Final victory against the South Australian Redbacks.
The Redbacks batted first and posted a small total of 221 at North Sydney oval on Sunday.
The Blues’ bowling line up looked similar to that of the national team with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Nathan Lyon making light work of the SA batsmen.
A poor start saw South Australia at 2/12, but they were able to steady with a much-needed partnership between Tom Cooper and Callum Ferguson.
The pair put on 154 for the third wicket.
When Cooper notched up his 100, it looked like the Redbacks were well on their way to a total of 280.
However, the class of the experienced bowling attack shone through and NSW wrestled back the momentum.
Hazelwood was a star with the ball, claiming 3/28 in an eventual man of the match performance.
Callum Ferguson also made a solid 61 in a match that didn’t post too many highlights for South Australia.
The small total of 221 was really no competition for the talented New South Wales team, who had five current Australian players in their line up.
Nic Maddinson started off the NSW innings with a blast, hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes in his 44.
Daniel Worrall seemed to be the main target for Maddinson, he was belted out of the attack after an expensive four overs.
The eventual wicket of Maddinson saw Steve Smith come to the crease; the Australian Captain strutted his stuff and showed why he had earned that title.
After a slow but steady start, Smith found his feet and finished off a dominant series with a classy 84.
Ed Cowen batted the entire innings with ease, and stamped his case for a possible first test selection.
Cowen finished with 88 not out and made victory the only outcome from an early stage.
The Blues proceeded to clinch a dominant nine-wicket victory in the Matador One Day Cup, breaking a 10-year drought.
Maddinson, Cowen and Smith chased the runs with 20 overs to spare.
The national players showed their class all series, especially Starc who took a record of 26 wickets in six matches.
And, with no real surprise, Starc was named man of the series.
The Blues now fly to Adelaide to face the Redbacks again in the first Sheffield shield match starting on Wednesday.
Written by: Josh Teakle