Blues breeze to Matador Cup title

25 October 2015

New South Wales dropped just one match en route to the Matador Cup title // Getty Images


Big names shine on big stage as NSW end decade long drought in remarkable fashion

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup 2015, Final


The NSW Blues have won their first domestic one-day title in 10 years, capping off a dominant tournament with a crushing victory over the West End Redbacks in the Matador Cup final at North Sydney Oval.

The giant-killing Redbacks were sent in to bat by Blues skipper Steve Smith and were in complete control when Tom Cooper (105) and Callum Ferguson (61) steered them to 2-166 in the 37th over.

WATCH: Cooper ton steers Redbacks to 221

But as is so often the case, one wicket brought another and then several more as the all international Blues bowling attack stormed back into the game to end the innings at 221 with 21 balls still remaining.

Quick Single: Sensational Starc flies into record books

The Blues then breezed through the run chase, with Nic Maddinson (44 from 29 balls), Ed Cowan (88 not out from 78) and Smith (84 not out from 72) securing the nine-wicket win with more than 20 overs to spare, the latter pair combining for an incredible unbroken stand of 165 from 139 balls. 

The Redbacks lost 8-55 and 7-30 in a stunning collapse as spearhead Mitchell Starc grabbed 3-39 to break the record for the most one-day wickets in a single domestic season, finishing his campaign with 26 in six matches.

WATCH: Starc skittles Redbacks

It's NSW's 10th one-day title and their first since their thrilling one-wicket win over the Redbacks in 2005-06. Allrounder Moises Henriques is the only surviving player from the side that won a decade ago.

The Redbacks literally lost their Head in the opening over of the match; skipper Travis bowled by a full swinging delivery from Starc to depart in almost identical fashion to when the two teams met here two-and-a-half weeks ago.

WATCH: History repeats for Head

Starc's Test fast-bowling partner Josh Hazlewood then reduced the Redbacks to 2-12 when he had Tim Ludeman edging to second slip, the gulf in class between the two sides threatening to produce an early finish on a stunning Sunday in the NSW capital.

Quick Single: Team of the Matador Cup

But SA's two most experienced players, 28-year-old Cooper and 30-year-old Ferguson, dug their side out of a hole.

Cooper was by far the more aggressive of the pair, striking eight fours and two sixes on his way to his eighth List A century and his highest-ever score for the Redbacks.

Ferguson was more sedate but his innings no less important in the Redbacks rebuild, striking five boundaries in a measured 61 before he was caught at long off trying to hit Steve O'Keefe over the boundary at the northern end.

WATCH: Ferguson fires with half-century

His dismissal was the beginning of a flurry of wickets between overs 37 and 47 as the Redbacks relinquished the ascendancy gained from the 154-run union between their two senior pros.

Key to NSW's revival was Sean Abbott, who held his place in a star-studded bowling attack that once again resigned Gurinder Sandhu and Doug Bollinger to a spot on the bench.

The 23-year-old Abbott had both Alex Ross and Cooper caught in front of the wicket with a clever change of pace, while Jake Lehmann's wild swing at Nathan Lyon and subsequent stumping was a moment to forget.

Henriques, who had earlier spilt a tough chance at backward point when Cooper was on 82, then produced a stunning one-handed catch in the same position to remove the dangerous Adam Zampa for four and give Hazlewood his second.

Starc returned to disturb the timber of Joe Mennie and Kane Richardson, breaking Shane Harwood's Australian domestic record of 24 wickets, before Hazlewood removed Tom Andrews to also finish with three wickets and end the innings.

Maddinson flew out of the blocks in the chase, launching six fours and three sixes including one maximum into the top tier of the Macartney Stand.

WATCH: Big hitting from Maddinson

His dismissal saw Cowan take up the role of the aggressor, the left-hander bringing up his half-century from just 47 balls with one of his two sixes.

Smith started slowly but, under no pressure from the required run rate, was able to ease into his innings and ultimately struck seven fours and six sixes, including one straight down the ground to ice the game in one ball short of 30 overs.

Watch: Smith smashes six sixes

Hazlewood's 3-28 earned him man of the match but it was his counterpart Starc who took man of the series honours, his record-breaking feats making the decision a simple one for the judges.

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