Victoria overcome Swepson scare to clinch thriller



Maxwell made 80 off 91 balls. © Getty

Depending on which side you chose to sit, the opening clash of Australia’s 2018-19 domestic season got underway to an exhilarating or heartbreaking start. Mitchell Swepson battled against unfavourable odds and seemed destined to guide Queensland to a dramatic come-from-behind victory before Victoria shrugged off their stupor to clinch a 13-run win in the first game of the One-Day Cup at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville.

Chasing 241 for victory, Queensland slipped into freefall as Will Sutherland claimed a fifer to leave the hosts reeling at 76 for 6. Swepson walked in at No.9 at a dire 104 for 7 in the 22nd over, when all hopes in the home dressing room had been lost. Swepson added 41 with the last recognised batsman, Joe Burns, for the eighth wicket. That was followed by a resolute stand of 77 with Xavier Bartlett, who refused to be pressurised into conforming with his tail-ender tag. Bartlett hit a solitary boundary in his 57-ball innings of 28 while Swepson got to a half-century and opened two other possible results to a game that seemed headed only one way.

When Bartlett was dismissed by the returning Chris Tremain off the last ball of the 45th over, Queensland needed 19 to win from 30. That margin reduced to 14 but with Billy Stanlake inspiring the same confidence, the pressure of scoring was too much to bear for Swepson, who fell to Tremain in the 47h over for a heroic 78-ball 77.

The gut-wrenching nature of the defeat was borne out of how far away they’d been from victory when Sutherland dismissed Sam Heazllett, Chris Lynn, Charlie Hemphrey, Jack Wildermuth and Lachlan Pfeffer in an absorbing opening spell. Only Max Bryant (45 from 38) offered any resistance. Such was Victoria’s dominance that they allowed Sutherland to be bowled out by the 33rd over of the chase with figures of 5 for 45, a choice they were nearly made to pay dearly for. Swepson played low-risk cricket, picking the gaps in the circle for his runs while the occasional boundary presented itself. In all, he hit nine fours in his nearly run-a-ball innings.

Earlier in the day, after being put in to bat, Victoria found themselves at 66 for 4 before Glenn Maxwell played a statement-making 80 in a century stand with Nic Maddinson (68). Maxwell, not considered for the Test series against Pakistan in UAE, scored eight fours and a six to propel the team to 240, what was eventually a match-winning total.

Brief scores: Victoria 240 in 48.3 overs (Glenn Maxwell 80, Nic Maddinson 68; Mark Steketee 4-35) beat Queensland 227 in 46.5 overs (Mitchell Swepson 77; Will Sutherland 5-45, Chris Tremain 3-47) by 13 runs.

© Cricbuzz


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