South Australia v Victoria, Big Bash final, Adelaide January 22, 2010

Redbacks desperate to end trophy drought

Match Facts

Saturday, January 23, Adelaide Oval
Start time 1845 (0815 GMT)

The Big Picture

The Big Bash final is actually the tournament encore, a night when both teams can express themselves knowing the most important work has already been done. By getting this far South Australia and Victoria have qualified for the Champions League Twenty20 in India later in the year and that event is where money can rain. The winner of Saturday's final in Adelaide receives A$100,000; New South Wales collected US$2.5m for claiming the inaugural Champions League.

Victoria, who reached the semi-finals in India last year, are pushing for their fourth title in the five years of the competition and brushed aside Queensland in the preliminary final in Brisbane on Tuesday. They suffered two losses in the group stages, but improved significantly for the major encounters and sense some South Australia frailty after the leaders finished with a bruising defeat to New South Wales.

The Redbacks, who are led by the wicketkeeper Graham Manou, surprised all their rivals when they won their first four matches to qualify for the final but then collapsed to 81 in the dead rubber. Hosting the contest at the half-built Adelaide Oval represents a major achievement for South Australia, who have not made a domestic decider since losing the 2005-06 one-day final. The last time they won a trophy was in 1995-96 when they out-lasted Western Australia to grab the Sheffield Shield. Back then, Shaun Tait was 13.

Form guide (most recent first)

South Australia LWWWW
Victoria WWLLW

Watch out for...

Shaun Tait was hit for four sixes in an over by David Warner during the last group game, which is not the sort of treatment fast bowlers enjoy. Look for Tait to be fierce when given the ball as he tries to forget the punishment. Tait has been in good form during the series - he has eight wickets at 15.5 - and roughed up the Victorians earlier in the month with 3 for 12.

Dirk Nannes started the tournament slowly but has improved at the right time, playing a key role in the preliminary final win with 2 for 26. A strong, aggressive left-arm fast bowler, Nannes is an expert at hurrying up batsmen at the start and end of the innings. Another strong performance will help convince the selectors he should add to his three national Twenty20 appearances.

Team news

A big problem for the Redbacks is they are without the brutal allrounder Shahid Afridi, who is playing for Pakistan in the one-day series against Australia. That means the big-hitting Kieron Pollard, who attracted the top price of US$750,000 in the latest IPL auction, is their only overseas weapon, increasing the pressure on the locals.

South Australia squad Graham Manou (capt, wk), Daniel Harris, Tom Cooper, Mark Cosgrove, Cameron Borgas, Dan Christian, Aaron O'Brien, Kieron Pollard, Jake Haberfield, Gary Putland, Mark Cleary, Shaun Tait.

Victoria have been forced into a severe reshuffle following the return to New Zealand of Ross Taylor, who made 4 on Tuesday, and the elevation of Cameron White and Clint McKay to Australian duties. Dwayne Bravo remains on the sidelines with a finger injury, leaving the Bushrangers without some serious talent. David Hussey will lead the team while Glenn Maxwell, Rob Quiney and Aiden Blizzard have been included in the 12.

Victoria squad Aaron Finch, Brad Hodge, Aiden Blizzard, David Hussey (capt), Andrew McDonald, Rob Quiney, Matthew Wade (wk), John Hastings, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Glenn Maxwell, Dirk Nannes.

Pitch and conditions

Adelaide is rarely a place bowlers pick as their favourite and life has been tough for them in the tournament so far. The match aggregates for South Australia's three group games at home were 316, 313 and 239. On Saturday the conditions are expected to be partly cloudy with a top temperature of 30C.

Stats and trivia

  • In five Twenty20 matches against South Australia, Victoria have lost only once. That defeat came when they were dismissed for 111 two weeks ago, allowing a 91-run win for the Redbacks
  • Aiden Blizzard and Rob Quiney have been at their best in previous finals, with Blizzard blasting 47 off 20 balls in the 2007-08 win and Quiney launching 91 off 56 in last summer's defeat
  • Each state has two players in the top 10 run-makers for the tournament. Brad Hodge is third with 172 and Aaron Finch eighth on 142, while Kieron Pollard (146) and Daniel Harris (143) are South Australia's representatives

    Quotes

    "They embarrassed us last time in Adelaide, so you'll see a Victorian team very determined to turn the tide. I think you'll see another great, great display from us."
    David Hussey

    "They've clearly been the dominant side against us for a number of years now and they've pretty much had it their way for far too long."
    Graham Manou

    Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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