Elliott fires Redbacks to second
South Australia 3 for 171 (Elliott 94) beat Queensland 170 (Noffke 45, Carseldine 45) by seven wickets
Matthew Elliott just missed out on his second one-day hundred in a week, but his 94 against Queensland in Adelaide helped South Australia make it two wins in five days following their midweek success in Perth. Their seven-wicket win means they are now in second after beginning the week in fifth; an excellent Christmas bonus - and it was Queensland they leapfrogged.
Elliott continued in a rich vein of form, his innings making him the leading runscorer in this year's competition, and he was in super touch with some typical clean hitting. He also paced his innings well and picked the gaps with ease.
He was particularly impressive through the on-side, both straight and square, until he holed out at deep midwicket by Clinton Perren off Aaron Nye going for a swept six trying to bring up his hundred and win the match. It wasn't to be but he left his team-mates with little work to do.
Daniel Harris provided an excellent support act in an opening stand of 94, and he made a solid 34 until edging through off stand-in skipper James Hopes. Daniel Christian followed soon after, a soft catch off Michael Kasprowicz to Aaron Nye at short midwicket, but the platform had been set, and Mark Cosgrove's pacy, unbeaten 27 duly saw them home.
The batsmen had been given room to swing following an excellent bowling and fielding display which tied Queensland in knots after Hopes, deputising for the injured Jimmy Maher, chose to bat on a good batting pitch. They slumped to 5 for 67, without Shane Watson, who had a virus, and under pressure from Paul Rofe and Ryan Harris, who each bagged two wickets, and Jason Gillespie, who grabbed one.
Their 170 represented a mini-recovery: Ashley Noffke and Nye both helped out with 45, but the total was always going to be well short.
Nathan Adcock's bowling again proved useful and he was on a hat-trick after bowling Carseldine and taking a screaming return catch off Grant Sullivan. His third ball, to Kasprowicz, only just missed off stump. Dan Cullen also found good turn, and a wicket, as all the bowlers impressed.
South Australia, then, will take great seasonal cheer from their fielding, too, with Cosgrove taking two lightning catches in the slips and Gillespie's direct hit removing the unlucky Hopes who had made a good start with 39 until he ran in to Rofe. Noffke, who had begun to lead the recovery, was then also run out, another important wicket.
It was unseasonally cold in Adelaide, but the home side's performance was a heartwarming Christmas present for the Redbacks who have now won five of their last six games. It was Queensland who provided the only blip in among those wins, but that was in a rain-affected encounter at the WACA. On Sunday, however, nothing could stop them and they can already look forward to the new year.
Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo