Warner, O'Keefe shine as NSW notch up first win
New South Wales 5 for 168 (Warner 73*, Smith 45) beat South Australia 147 (Pollard 53, O'Keefe 3-23, Clark 3-28, Hauritz 3-21) by 21 runs
New South Wales survived a massive scare in the form of Trinidadian Kieron Pollard to post their first win in the 2010-11 Big Bash, over South Australia in Adelaide. The Blues had the game on ice when the Redbacks slumped to 6 for 53 in pursuit of their target of 169.
Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe ripped through the hosts top order claiming 3 for 4 in his first two overs after captain Stuart Clark called on him in the fourth over because Doug Bollinger's fist over had gone for 17.
Pollard and Aaron O'Brien were left to salvage a sinking Redbacks ship, needing 115 from 66 deliveries with just four wickets in hand. Pollard began a typical pyrotechnics display, the kind of which has made him a Twenty20 gun for hire around the world. In the 12th over he ruined O'Keefe's figures with two massive blows, one was miscued straight down the ground, the other caught in the crowd at long-off, beyond the longest boundary in Australia.
When O'Brien was stumped from a wide two overs later, the last rites were expected to be delivered but Pollard launched a savage assault on allrounder Moises Henriques. The over cost 29, the West Indian responsible for 23 of them, reaching 50 in 22 balls and pulling the equation back to just 38 off 30.
Henriques had the last laugh though. With Pollard looking to climb over long-on in the next over, he leapt high to claim an extraordinary catch, reminiscent of John Dyson, as Pollard fell metres short of his sixth six. Henriques also claimed the winning catch in Nathan Hauritz's next over to seal the Blues win.
Earlier NSW set a competitive total of 5 for 168 after winning the toss. The innings was anchored by an unusually subdued David Warner who made 73 not out from 58 balls with just one six and seven fours.
He wrestled with his timing throughout and played second fiddle to his opening partner Daniel Smith who clubbed 45 at the top. NSW lost quick wickets in the middle as spinners O'Brien and debutant Nathan Lion tied things down but Warner's effort to go against instinct and hang tough might have proved the difference in the end.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth