Ross' counterattack leads Redbacks to thrilling win
South Australia 9 for 278 (Ross 88*, Zampa 61, Ferguson 58, Cutting 3-48) beat Queensland 9 for 279 (Reardon 87, Hartley 79, Richardson 5-35) by one wicket (D/L method)
A star turn by Alex Ross guided South Australia to a thrilling victory over Queensland in a tightly contested Matador Cup match at North Sydney Oval. The win lifted the Redbacks to second place on the competition table.
Late afternoon rain sent the players scurrying from the field and removed one over and five runs from the Redbacks' target. Left to make 56 runs from the remaining 33 balls, Ross concluded a composed performance with the hammer blows required for the win, as the Bulls bowlers and fielders battled with slippery footholds, a wet ball and a damp outfield.
The Bulls had been reeling when Kane Richardson claimed two wickets from the first two deliveries of the match - Joe Burns taken at midwicket and then Marnus Labuschagne pinned lbw. Nathan Reardon averted a hat-trick and then put on a restorative partnership of 168 with the Queensland vice-captain Chris Hartley to lay the platform for a tally of 279.
Richardson returned to end the Reardon-Hartley stand and finished with the handsome figures of 5 for 35, just reward for his sharp pace, accuracy and canny use of leg cutters and slower balls in the latter stages of the Queensland innings.
South Australia's chase was put off balance by a strong new ball spell from the tall seamer Billy Stanlake, who bounced out Travis Head and Sam Raphael. Ben Cutting struck another key blow by having Tom Cooper lbw, but Callum Ferguson and Ross were able to set some sort of a launch pad for the Redbacks.
Ferguson's dismissal for a fluent 58 left much for the lower order to do, but a brazen innings of 61 from 38 balls by the emerging allrounder Adam Zampa kept South Australia in the contest. Zampa frustrated the Bulls' bowlers with his combination of nifty placement and considerable power, but his dismissal by Cutting left the match more or less on Ross' bat.
He was helped by a couple of clean blows from the left-arm spinner Tom Andrews, before a pair of straight sixes from Ross off the first ball of Michael Neser's penultimate over and the second of James Hopes' last gave the side breathing room to squeeze home with the No. 11 Gary Putland camped at the other end.
Ross had never before taken control of a match in this way, and his breakout performance will be as much a source of delight for the new South Australia leadership duo of Travis Head and Jamie Siddons as the win itself.