Close this search box.

Twenty20 Big Bash Final preview

Can South Australia topple New South Wales to make it two on the trot in Saturday's Twenty20 Big Bash final? Ben Waterworth previews the match, which will be held at the Adelaide Oval.

South Australia Redbacks v New South Wales Blues: Twenty20 Big Bash Final, Saturday 5/2 – 7.00pm (Local Time) at the Adelaide Oval


South Australia has produced another impressive Twenty20 campaign this year after reaching the Big Bash final for the second consecutive season. The Redbacks won four of their five matches during the group stage, including two comprehensive victories over Victoria – the most successful Australian domestic Twenty20 side over the last six years. Statistically, South Australia has clearly been the best team over the last month with four players scoring 100 plus runs and five players claiming at least six wickets.

New South Wales booked a spot in the final after comprehensively defeating Tasmania by nine wickets last Tuesday night at Bellerive Oval. The Blues’ top two players this season – David Warner and Patrick Cummins – continued their outstanding Big Bash form, leading the Blues to a second domestic Twenty20 final within four years. Seventeen-year-old Cummins ripped through Tasmania’s top order, taking 4/16 at scintillating pace and destroying the Tigers’ aspirations of a competitive total in the process. New South Wales then comfortably chased down its opponents’ paltry score of 103 with Warner blasting a quick fire 70 from just 49 deliveries.

These two teams have played each other five times since the inaugural 2005-06 Big Bash season. The Blues hold a comfortable head-to-head lead over South Australia, winning four of those five matches. Ironically, the Redbacks’ only defeat in the Big Bash this season was a 21-run loss against the Blues. Is it a sign of things to come?


Not only is Daniel Harris a qualified doctor, he’s also a damn good limited overs cricketer. The 31-year-old is one of the most successful Twenty20 batsmen in Australian domestic history with 926 runs – including 256 this season – from 29 Big Bash matches. He holds the record for the highest Twenty20 score ever by a South Australian player when he smacked 98 from just 62 balls against Victoria in 2009. The lightly framed opening batsman is blessed with a tight technique and impeccable concentration. He is an extremely difficult batsman to bowl to because once a bowler pitches the ball even slightly outside the off stump, his feet move quickly into position allowing him to hammer the ball through the point and cover region. The Redbacks desperately need Harris to see off the new ball and get them off to a flying start in order to set up a more than competitive total.

Stuart Clark has led the Blues magnificently throughout this Big Bash season so far and it would only be fitting if he and his teammates can top off a remarkable campaign with a victory on Saturday night. The 35-year-old’s efforts with the ball over the last month have been nothing short of outstanding, taking nine wickets at an average of 15.11. More importantly, Clark’s average economy rate during his last six games is 5.66, which is an unbelievable stat seeing a rate of less than eight is normally good for a Twenty20 bowler. His defensive bowling approach at the start of an innings compliments the more aggressive pace bowlers such as Cummins and Sean Abbott perfectly. Clark needs to bowl well specifically in the first six overs of the match, because his battle with Harris could potentially decide the game.


Partly cloudy and mainly fine – maximum temperature of 26 degrees.


The Adelaide Oval surface is a Twenty20 batsman’s paradise. With little to no grass cover on top of the wicket and incredibly short boundaries square of the wicket, expect plenty of batsmen to send the ball flying over the fence on a regular basis.


Even though they will be thrilled and proud of him, the Redbacks suffered a major blow during the past week when Callum Ferguson was called into the Australian ODI squad for the last two games of the series against England. This means the 26-year-old, who has been a crucial member of the strong batting line-up South Australia has produced this season, will miss the final on Saturday night. Ferguson is likely to be replaced by Tom Cooper, who will be hoping to improve on his 15 runs from three Twenty20 innings’ this season. Apart from that change, the Redbacks seem settled and will be confident they can go one step further than last year’s second placing. Here is how South Australia should line-up: 

  1. Daniel Harris
  2. Michael Klinger (C)
  3. Aiden Blizzard
  4. Cameron Borgas
  5. Daniel Christian
  6. Tom Cooper
  7. Graham Manou (WK)
  8. Aaron O’Brien
  9. Adil Rashid
  10. Kyle Richardson
  11. Nathan Lyon


New South Wales will go into the final without one of its key players. Rising star Usman Khawaja tweaked a hamstring while fielding against Tasmania on Tuesday night and will not play. Peter Forrest, who has been in good form in the Future’s League, will replace Khawaja and bat in the middle order. Also Steve O’Keefe was never considered for selection as he has not fully recovered from a calf strain, meaning Dominic Thornley will be the sole spinner in the side. Warner is also free to play as well after escaping with a reprimand for his role in a public war of words on Twitter with Tasmanian paceman Brett Geeves. Here is how New South Wales should line-up:

  1. David Warner
  2. Daniel Smith (WK)
  3. Phil Jaques
  4. Peter Forrest
  5. Moises Henriques
  6. Ben Rohrer
  7. Dominic Thornely
  8. Scott Coyte
  9. Sean Abbott
  10. Patrick Cummins
  11. Stuart Clark (C)



Before this season, the Victorian Bushrangers had won four out of a possible five Big Bash championships. But the one time they failed to win was back in 2009 when they lost to the Blues on the final ball of an enthralling match.

Four players who will line-up for New South Wales on Saturday night participated in that final two years ago. Therefore key players such as Thornley, Moises Henriques and Ben Rohrer can officially say they’ve been there and done it before, a factor that could become crucial if Saturday night’s final goes right down to the wire.

However there is a strong feeling in the air that 2011 is the year of the Redbacks.

During the mid to late 2000’s, South Australia seemed to dwindle at the bottom of the Australian domestic ladder in all three forms of the game. Nothing went right for the state team with some experts labelled them the laughing stock of Australian state cricket.

But things have changed significantly of late. Younger players have developed into leaders and have taken their games to new levels in the process.

Unlike New South Wales – who have used 21 players throughout this season’s Big Bash – the Redbacks have got their balance right. They are strong with both bat and ball and are on top of their game from a tactical viewpoint. The selectors’ decision to play three specialist spinners has worked a treat throughout the entire tournament so far, with Aaron O’Brien, Adil Rashid and the impressive Nathan Lyon claiming a whopping 25 wickets between them. 

South Australia now has more than enough talent to cover players like Tait and Ferguson, something it wouldn’t have been able to claim two to three years ago. The team is full of confidence and will certainly hold no fear against the Blues.

Harris and co at the top of the order must make the most of the flat Adelaide Oval pitch and produce a massive total. The three spinners also need to take as much pace off the ball as possible and make it extremely difficult for the Blues’ batsmen to score. A few wickets might help too.

The Redbacks came so close to winning the Big Bash last year, only to fall short to the Twenty20 kings in the final. This time round, they’ll be kings.


South Australia

Ben Waterworth is a La Trobe journalism student, and can also be found blogging over at A Short Sport Thought.

Related Articles

Editor's Picks