The Redbacks have had an awesome start to their Champions League campaign with two victories from their opening games. It’s put them in a brilliant position for the tournament and a lot of credit goes to one man in particular, who has actually been a surprise factor for the Redbacks!
Michael Klinger has scored back to back half-centuries in the games against the Highveld Lions and the Mumbai Indians. He has shown an exciting streak of aggression, which is uncharacteristic given his prolific form in the Sheffield Shield, where a more sophisticated type of player comes out. Despite a few critics pointing fingers at him at the start of the season in the longer form of the game, he rarely goes down without a fight and showing his class to back his abilties. To do it now in Twenty20 cricket is equally brilliant, especially when the Redbacks are up against some of the worlds finest T20 outfits. He’s lead the way strongly with 128 runs to his name, with a highest score of 78 (a powerful onslaught from him against the Lions) and has cleared the rope with 8 sixes! He’s going big to get the job done.
Dan Harris looked scrappy and uncomfortable in the 1st game, but joined Michael to set the best foundation you could ask to take the battle to Mumbai. Dan scored 56 runs at a rapid rate.
Callum Ferguson had a good comeback with yet another forty (47), so even though it wasn’t for Australia, he did what he does best…miss a half-century. It was a great moment seeing Fergal back in action, even if it was just in the venomous Red! A typical display by Fergal, with square shots finding the gaps in the field to either find the boundary or set him up to run like a mad dog!
Dan Christian and Tom Cooper had an important partnership against Mumbai, which really was an outstanding game for entertainment value…the fielding was pathetic on the other hand, especially by Mumbai Indians, but having seen a fair bit of the IPL, you expect the fielding to be well below standard.
The bowling department have been fighting the expected T20 difficulties. Shaun Tait has been finding some decent pace and has 4 wickets to his name. It didn’t take Taito long to bag a wicket in the opening game! It’s special to see him leading the Redbacks bowling unit after all he went through two years back. Pace, pace and more pace is his key in conditions where should get some assistance from the tracks.
Dan Christian has been very economical as has Aaron O’Brien, but the Redbacks have been poor at times with gifting the opposition full tosses and peachy half-volleys. Poor Cullen Bailey is in the wilderness with his bowling radar at the moment. Fortunately the guys have another chance to try rectify the minor issues they face, but one can’t be overly critical of bowlers in T20 cricket.
Graham Manou has been tidy with his glovework. He had one drop catch in the opening game but his reflexes are looking good for the better part of things and he had one particular stumping that was executed so well! Text book stuff.
The Redbacks are looking damn awesome and I'm really proud of the boys. Hopefully they can still lift their game. I admit it was amusing seeing Kieron Pollard take them to the cleaners for Mumbai after he was a key player in the walk to the finals against The Bushrangers in the KFC Big Bash.
Speaking about the Bushrangers, they had a depressing start to their sophomore effort in the Champions League. They batted poorly up top, well, maybe that’s harsh. They were outdone by some top class fielding and bowling that didn’t allow guys like Rob Quiney and Brad Hodge to make some room and play the ball away to their preferred zone. Whether the Warriors did their homework, I’m not sure, but it was well executed.
However, they were better against the Stags, lead by the only Kiwi player whose career I have really had a genuine interest in and that is Jamie How.
After Jamie played one hell of a good innings to score 77 unbeaten runs opening up the batting, it was just outclassed by the Aaron Finch show in the end as Aaron set sights on turmoil and destruction against the Central New Zealand team.
93* from 60 deliveries with 11 fours and 3 sixes. Looks good on paper, was even better seeing the way he went about his innings! Great to see Finchy get some good time out there and show the world that he’s got a lot to offer as an emerging young batsman! A score like that in T20 cricket is always something to be admired, even if it is something like Yusuf Pathan would deliver...not always stylish but it's contagious to watch when he gets settled.
Besides Finchy, David Hussey was the only other guy to really make some kind of an impact with the bat, but in the game Dussey tried to steer his side back on track, the rescue mission failed. Should the Vics get their campaign on track (their recent game was a testament to this), watch out for the Dussey!
Can’t rule out the likes of Hodgey, Matt Wade and I don’t cast a shadow over Andrew McDonald for some reliable, invaluable contribution with the bat or ball.
Nice to see Peter Siddle send down some overs and get 2 wickets. Match time is important for him now that he's back in the mix.
What are your thoughts on the tournament thus far?
In all honesty, I have only followed the games the Redbacks and Bushrangers have participated in, so I would like to hear your views.
I’m still counting down the days to the Indian tour, but good to have some cricket again.
To see Stapo’s latest article regarding Steven Smith and the heavily debated Haddin/Paine scenario, click here (Smith) or here (Haddin/Paine) or scroll through the archives.
For more intense coverage of the Champions League and another strong supporter of the South Australian Redbacks, head over to Wes’ blog for some write-ups.
I’m just stoked to see the Redbacks killing their prey in tactful ways! They need key performances to stun the opposition to go all the way. I wouldn't rule out the Vics to make some wild comeback.
16/09/2010 Article by Ian (Twitter)
Michael Klinger has had a screamer of a start in his leadership role and opening stance for the Redbacks in the Champions League!
Image: © Associated Press, Courtesy of Cricinfo.com