Hughes betters Bevan with stunning start

Blues opener posts another hundred and creates new mark of most runs at early point in one-day career

NSW have might have unearthed another one-day batting genius in the form of Dan Hughes, the red-hot opener who boasts the greatest start to a 50-over domestic career Australia has ever seen.

Hughes was outstanding on Friday night in registering his second century of the tournament – a classy 122 from 137 balls – and in doing so became the JLT One-Day Cup's leading run-scorer.

But bigger than that is the mark he has now set as the most prolific batsman in Australian domestic 50-over cricket from debut to his 13th match, not to mention the best average of any player having batted 10 times or more.

Thirteen might be an unlucky number for some but it's not for Hughes, who has amassed an incredible 779 runs at an average of 70.81. 

Victoria's Julien Wiener previously set the benchmark after his first 13 one-dayers for his state with 706 runs at 64.18, while Michael Bevan – Australia's one-day mastermind – finished his career with an average of 61.19, now the second-highest behind Hughes.

So what does the 28-year-old put the amazing start to his 50-over career down to?

"I just think it's hard work in the nets," Hughes said after play at Drummoyne Oval.

"Working closely with Phil Jaques, working on options to get off strike.

"I think that's what it is in one-day cricket – getting down the other end, get off strike, get the pressure off yourself and the boundary balls will come. It's just hard work."

Hughes' 122 put him above opening partner Nic Maddinson as the competition's premier batsman, a mantle he wrested off his fellow southpaw.

Hughes is top of the heap with 376 runs and Maddinson sits a spot lower in second with 370.

Maddinson's dominant JLT Cup form continues

The pair has put on three century stands so far this season – totals of 192, 136 and 132 – and are a major reason why NSW sit in second spot on the tournament points table.

"It's always nice to get those accolades but I just do what I can," Hughes said when told he was the JLT Cup's leading run-scorer. "I don't really think about that stuff.

"We've been going well at the top there.

"It's the best time to bat, against the new ball.

"The ball skids on nicely and we've got to take advantage of that to try and get as many as you can none down because it gets tougher in the middle when the ball gets old and the wicket is slow."

Match highlights: Queensland v New South Wales

NSW will be hoping their ferocious first-wicket pair can fire again on Sunday when the Blues face the Bushrangers.

A win over Victoria would secure a spot in Thursday's elimination final in Hobart, while a loss would leave their fate in the hands of others.