NSW Blues have kept their JLT One-Day Cup title defence alive with a 93-run bonus-point win over the Cricket Australia XI despite a whirlwind knock by youngster Max Bryant.
A loss at Hurstville Oval would have made winning a hat-trick of 50-over titles extremely difficult, but the dominant performance on Sunday put the defending champions into the top three on the competition points table.
Set 333 to win, the CA XI were bowled out for 239 in the 37th over.
NSW’s win was driven by Nic Maddinson’s second century in three games, a bruising 123 from 113 balls as the Blues posted 8-332 from their 50 overs having been sent in to bat.
Undaunted, Bryant set out to upstage Maddinson’s knock and he did just about that, crunching the vaunted Blues attack, sans the rested Mitchell Starc, to all parts in Sydney’s south.
Bryant crisply struck 10 fours and four sixes before his stay ended on 89 – the same score David Warner made in his international debut and the teenager was every bit as destructive as the Australian vice-captain.
While Bryant’s career is just beginning, veteran seamer Doug Bollinger is entering the twilight phase of his, but that didn’t stop him teaching the new kids on the block a thing or two.
Bollinger picked up 3-62 from 10 overs to rip the heart out of the CA XI pursuit, while the rest of the Blues bowling unit shared the wickets.
Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was the biggest benefactor of the potent attack. The gloveman pouched six catches and affected two stumpings to finish with eight dismissals, the most ever by gloveman in a List A match.
Had NSW lost this match, they would have likely needed to win their final two group matches to qualify for the finals. It’s the same situation the CA XI finds themselves in, but without the benefit of a bonus point their campaign looks over.
NSW now wait until Friday for their next fixture, a day-night contest against Queensland at Drummoyne Oval, while the CA XI face Victoria back at Hurstville Oval on Tuesday.