Victoria 240 (Maxwell 80, Maddinson 68, Steketee 4-35) beat Queensland 227 (Swepson 77, Sutherland 5-45) by 13 runs
On an opening day of the Australian domestic season so early it could only have been played in far north Queensland, its new possibilities were exemplified by the displays of Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson as the bulwarks of a Victorian innings that proved just stout enough to see off Queensland in seam and swing-friendly conditions.
For Maxwell, it wasn’t quite the hundred that he has been told he must make in far more frequent fashion to make it into Justin Langer’s preferred Australian teams, but plenty noted it was almost worth three of the 30-plus scores that have apparently become a key metric in determining a batsman’s ability to avert collapses.
That is exactly what Maxwell and Maddinson, in his first game for Victoria after becoming unwanted by New South Wales, were confronted with at 4 for 66, and their stand of 121 was critical to lifting the state to an ultimately sufficient 240 in Townsville. While Mark Steketee pouched four wickets for Queensland, the Australia paceman Billy Stanlake was expensive, and was also fortunate when Cameron White was able to get a glove to an accidental beamer that may otherwise have caused grievous injury.
At the end of a week in which he was discarded from the Test squad, Maxwell spoke happily of making runs, bailing out his team and ultimately winning – a sensation he noted had been somewhat missing from his experience of 2018 so far. He also contended that if he is to return to international cricket in the longer formats, he would first have to let go of his earlier visions of a key role in the UAE against Pakistan in the absences of the banned Steven Smith and David Warner.
“I’m not thinking about that right now, that’s gone at the moment and no point dwelling on it and talking about it, my job right now is to make runs and play well for Victoria,” Maxwell said. “If I can contribute to wins like today, have some success and sing the song together, they’re special moments. I feel like I haven’t won a lot of games this year. In Delhi we had a pretty average tournament, with the English one dayers we got pumped and lost the tri-series final [in Zimbabwe] as well. Hasn’t been much success, I think we lost three of our four practice games as well. So nice to win a game and start the tournament off well.
“From the position the game was in I think coming out at three-for in the Powerplay and the ball was nipping around, doing all sorts out there, it was nice to get through that, put on a partnership with Maddo and give us something to bowl at. I think you’re always wary of when it seams in the morning that it’s going to flatten out in the arvo. Luckily enough it still seamed about for them [batting] and we were able to get enough wickets to really drive the game. So it was nice to get some runs and start the tournament off well.
“You don’t need extra determination playing for your state and with your mates that’s for sure, it was good fun to get out there and I’ve got a lot of really good mates out here so it’s fun to be up in Townsville.”
Queensland’s innings mirrored Victoria’s in its struggles against the new and moving ball, particularly in the hands of the young allrounder Will Sutherland, who Maxwell likened to the similarly rangy John Hastings in his height, bounce, late movement and accuracy. Also of interest was the flighted leg spin of Tom O’Connell, who returned a very creditable 2 for 42 on his state debut, including the key wicket of another Test team discard Joe Burns just as he and Mitchell Swepson threatened a rearguard.
“Will Sutherland was outstanding, Tom O’Connell a very confident young legspinner and handy with the bat as well,” Maxwell said. “We’ve got some really good young guys … it’s going to be a collective effort from our squad to try and win this tournament, we’re going to need everyone to stand up at some stage and it was great for the guys to stand up, a couple of guys on debut, Maddo played really well today, so to have guys stand up in the first game has been really good.
“[Sutherland] is a star, a very good young player. Very similar in the John Hastings mould, big tall guy, moves the ball around, hits a great length and hits the seam. Makes it difficult for batters if you’re getting that movement off the wicket and pressuring their defence all the time, which is ideal. He’s just got a really level head about him so hopefully if he doesn’t run himself out we’ll see him with the bat as well he’s got some really good skills there.”
The Bulls captain Chris Lynn, playing his first domestic limited-overs match in five years, was caught at cover by Maxwell for a duck when he tried to power Sutherland through the off side as Queensland wickets fell in a new-ball clump. Chris Tremain, another man who could consider himself unfortunate to be missing out on the Pakistan series, maintained his habit of regular wickets. He claimed three, including the final two Queenslanders, just as they appeared capable of salvaging victory.