The Bulls are currently equal on points at the top of the standings with NSW, who are today fighting to avoid an outright loss against Tasmania. For the Redbacks, pride is on the line after failing to secure victories against Western Australia and NSW despite leading both games throughout.
Chadd Sayers is the only absentee from the Redbacks squad that took on NSW at Adelaide Oval, with left-arm quick Nick Winter and allrounder Sam Kerber making their way into the travelling 13. Kerber, in line for a first-class debut, has forced his way into calculations on the back of a brilliant Premier Cricket season with Adelaide University. Averaging 67.89 with the bat, including a best score of 116, and 22.49 with the ball, highlighted by 39 wickets and best figures of 5/130, the 26-year-old has been unstoppable in all facets of the game.
For the Bulls, they have made just one change to their squad, bringing Billy Stanlake into the 12-man unit. The paceman replaces Mark Steketee, who has withdrawn with a minor side complaint. Should Stanlake play, it will be his maiden first class game of the season.
The Bulls have been starved of cricket in recent times, with their Shield and Marsh One Day Cup battles against Victoria both abandoned due to rain. Queensland’s last four-day clash was 6-9 March, a fixture that saw Western Australia hold out for a draw on the final day in an absolute run-fest. The Bulls compiled 9d/600 in response to Western Australia’s 5d/458, with Matt Renshaw and Bryce Street both reaching triple figures.
Renshaw also raised the bat the last time these two sides met, back in November at ACH Stadium in Glenelg. Queensland went on to win that game in thrilling circumstances, taking the final South Australian wicket with just minutes to spare on the final day to win by 62 runs. Harry Nielsen was the star with the bat for the home side, batting patiently but productively on his way to 114 from 260 deliveries.
Two of the best batsmen in Australia will go head-to-head this week, with Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne lining up for the respective teams. Head is the second-highest run-scorer this season with 801 at an average of 72.81 and a high score of 223, while Labuschagne has 517 at 64.62 and a high score of 167.
Despite missing their leading wicket-taker, Mitch Swepson, the Bulls have plenty of options with the ball, including the likes of Jack Wildermuth and Xavier Bartlett who have 14 wickets on the season and Brendan Doggett who has 13. Michael Neser has also been in red hot form for the Bulls since his return to the side. The Redbacks have found it difficult to bowl teams out this year, and they will be looking to the likes of Daniel Worrall, Wes Agar and David Grant to do damage with ball in hand.
Another in the spotlight will be left-arm leg spinner Joe Medew-Ewen, who made his debut against NSW and impressed with three wickets. Extracting turn and bounce from the Adelaide Oval deck, there will be plenty of interested observers looking to see what the exciting young talent can do on the east coast.
The Redbacks clash with Queensland begins tomorrow at 10.30am ACDT and will be broadcast live on cricket.com.au.
West End Redbacks Squad
Travis Head (c)
Queensland Bulls Squad
Usman Khawaja (c)
22 March 2021