Only two games remain in what’s been a successful revamp of the Ryobi One-Day Cup.
Queensland will play in the final against New South Wales or Victoria, with all three teams capable of taking out the title.
The Blues have had the advantage of playing in their home conditions, and with guys like Steve Smith and Davey Warner in form they’ll be difficult to beat.
Smith in particular seems very comfortable at the crease and he looks very confident at the moment, which is a good sign for Australia moving forward.
The Victorians are always very strong. They’ve got a very good batting order in particular.
The usual suspects have stood up: Cameron White, Dave and Matty Wade looks like he’s playing really well.
I think the Queenslanders have been the surprise packets.
They’re always very competitive but probably on paper NSW and Victoria have the stronger teams, but Queensland are always a very, very competitive unit and they play very well as a team.
It’s hard to predict a winner, but I really like the idea of a champion team and Queensland are certainly a champion team.
They play well together; they don’t rely heavily on one or two players but rely on contributions from everyone.
They all know their roles very well, they play well for the team and each other and quite often that’s the difference between winning and losing.
I really enjoyed playing domestic 50-over cricket; it was with the Warriors I got my chance to play for Australia.
I have some great memories playing with a successful WA team, and fortunately we got to play in a few finals.
Some went well and some not so well.
We were in a final in Queensland where we won against the odds in what was then a Mercantile Mutual Cup final.
I really enjoyed the one-day cricket and there were some brilliant games along the way.
One of the gimmicks back then were signs around the boundary worth some large amount of money, and if you hit one with a six you’d win some cash .
I can tell you it wasn’t something you went out and set a goal to hit it, but the fans loved it and created a bit of interest amongst the players.
I actually managed to hit the sign against NSW one year. From memory the prize was about $200,000, which caused more grief than good!
Steve Waugh and Shane Lee had previously hit the sign, so I asked them how they split it up amongst the players.
I wasn’t sure if there was a policy or some kind of strategy how to best divvy it up. I hope I didn’t miss anybody!
The successful RYOBI Cup and thrilling one-day series in India proves there is definitely a future for 50-over cricket.
What I like about it is that it caters for all different types of players.
T20 can be just the power players where 50-over cricket caters for everyone.
It accommodates the batsman who have the power but also the batsman that can work the ball into gaps, run hard between the wickets, much like a Michael Bevan type player.
The players really enjoy playing it because you have time to build an innings or time to recover if you get off to a bad start.
In T20 if you get off to a bad start it’s pretty hard to recover in the game.
However, I’d have to say that T20 is contributing to the 50-over game improving.
We’re starting to see scores grow even more than what they used to.
I remember when 50-overs started if you got 200 that was a good score and now they’re pushing the barriers of 400.
They’re getting up to 360 and that’s still a score you can chase down..
It’s always difficult when you’re chasing down a target - there always seems to a bit more pressure.
I used to try to have a bit of a goal of taking the game as deep as possible, so you’d still be in the game for the last three overs.
There’s no point throwing it away with seven overs to go and bringing out a new batsman.
I used to always try to have a partnership going coming into the last five overs, have a batsman set and worked on 50 runs off the last five overs.
The players are showing these days that they can get even more than that.
I think Australia got 60 in the last five overs, thanks largely to James Faulkner.
It seems that no score is safe.
Players are getting so good at chasing down scores and with T20 they don’t seem to panic when the run rate gets up over 11 or 12 runs per over, which would have had me panicking if it was up that high!
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.