KANE Richardson believes South Australia can be lucky losers and clinch the JLT Cup by discovering a blueprint that “holds up” in Sunday’s final minor round clash against Victoria at Junction Oval.
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Three consecutive losses have shunted the Redbacks to fifth spot and on track to face fourth placed Queensland in a qualifying final next Thursday in Sydney.
The equation is simple for Jamie Siddons’ men — fire against Victoria then win three consecutive finals to clinch the title.
“If we finish sixth that is OK but we need to win some finals. That’s all it is, three wins but we have to stop talking about it and do it,” said Richardson.
The changes to the JLT Cup format will, to a perverse degree, reward sides yet to collectively ignite.
“The weird thing we would be cooked any other year,” conceded Australian one-day paceman Richardson.
“The chat we have is to learn from what we are doing wrong and get it right when it matters and win the competition from down the ladder.”
The only consolation in South Australia watching Western Australian opener D’Arcy Short (257) smash a record breaking double-ton against Queensland or Tasmania’s Ben McDermott post dual centuries this tournament is they will have to replicate that magic in the finals.
The Redbacks have lacked middle-order partnerships required to arm their impressive attack with defendable totals. There has been a reliance on Jake Weatherald averaging 63 while its solitary win came courtesy of the opener’s unconquered 106 against bottom-ranked New South Wales in the tournament opener.
“Jake Weatherald is a perfect example, when he gets off to a good start there is someone to bat around but it can’t be him every time,” said Richardson, who took 2/46 in South Australia’s three wicket loss to Tasmania on Thursday at Bankstown Oval.
“In the middle order we are just missing that bloke to bat through to the 45th over and put the foot down. It’s another opportunity on Sunday.”
Masterful strokeplay from openers Weatherald and Alex Carey delivered Adelaide Strikers inaugural title last season and Richardson says that big game experience will be vital in the JLT Cup finals.
“If we can find a way to switch it on for the big moments in the finals we should be all right,” said Richardson, with SA a chance to recall left-arm spinner Tom Andrews against the Bushrangers.
Former SA leg-spinner Tom O’Connell, 18, has eight wickets for Victoria but Adam Zampa is the best performed tweaker in the competition with 9 at 21.
“He has been on fire, an Aussie call up wouldn’t be far away, he is controlling middle overs,” said Richardson of leg-spinner Zampa.
“He has a new run- up, action and spinning the ball both ways.”