Tasmania all-rounder James Faulkner couldn't have illustrated his importance to the Tigers any more clearly than he did in their big Ryobi Cup win over the Warriors in Burnie on Saturday.
The match, played within a stone's throw of Bass Strait at West Park Oval, was marred by a pitch that Warriors skipper Adam Voges branded as 'poor', but Faulkner and fellow all-rounder Evan Gulbis managed to shine with bat and ball as the Tigers eventually romped to an impressive 85-run bonus point victory.
Neither top order could deal with the variable bounce and sideways movement extracted by seam bowlers, but Faulkner (66) teamed with fellow all-rounder Gulbis (57 not out) to add 114 runs for the seventh wicket and dig the Tigers out of a big hole after they'd stumbled to 6-51 at one stage.
"Sometimes you come in when you're 5-70 and other times you come in when you're 5-220," Faulkner said.
"That's part of when I come in at six and seven, through the middle order, and it's the same for everyone else. It was a tough situation and it was one we won today.
"Now we've secured this one and the bonus point, which is obviously a good start ahead of the back end of the season."
Having helped save the Tigers with bat in hand, Faulkner and Gulbis also teamed up to terrorise the Warriors middle order, finishing with four wickets apiece as the visitors crumbled to an embarrassing loss.
Voges was clearly disappointed with the manner of his side's capitulation, Saturday's collapse a repeat of two sub-par batting performances in last week's Sheffield Shield loss to the Tigers.
"One partnership has got them in a position to win the game and obviously the way we went about it with the bat, I thought we got a solid start there but obviously our middle order didn't contribute at all," he said.
"We went from going okay (then) within four or five overs we were nearly out of the game which was really disappointing."
The Warriors crashed from 1-47 to 6-53 in the space of just 19 deliveries and from that point there was only ever going to be one winner.
Voges was one of a number of batsmen to be brought undone by the inconsistent nature of the West Park pitch and suggested better playing surfaces were required if the Ryobi Cup's adventure into regional Australia was to prosper.
He also admitted the Warriors were enduring tough times at present and said plenty would be done to ensure a successful rebuild under new coach Justin Langer.
"To be honest, it's been a tough three months for our group," he said.
"Justin's come in (and) he's got a big role to play not only for this season but in seasons to come.
"Our playing group will have that opportunity to show their wares for the rest of our season. That (result) today obviously puts us out of the one-day competition and it will probably give us the opportunity to blood a few young blokes and give them opportunities and see how they go.
"I'm sure it's a big three months for a number of players in our group."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 01 December, 2012 5:58PM AEST