The Sheffield Shield for the 2023-24 season is in full swing, and cricket enthusiasts are already gearing up for what promises to be a thrilling competition. All six participating teams have had their first outings, with Tasmania and Western Australia securing victories. Now, it’s time for Victoria and Queensland to face off, each looking to bounce back from their initial setbacks.
Queensland was a competitive force last season but narrowly missed out on the finals. With a stable team and the addition of Ben McDermott, they are expected to be title contenders this time. Queensland’s first match this season against New South Wales ended in a draw. While they were dismissed for just 176 in their first innings, they made a strong comeback in the second innings, posting 417-7 in response to New South Wales’ 446.
Key performers for Queensland in the previous game included Michael Neser (140) and Jimmy Peirson (106). Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja are expected to contribute significantly with the bat. Mitchell Swepson, the leg-spinner, and Michael Neser, the seam bowler, will be vital in the bowling department.
Queensland Predicted Playing XI: Bryce Street, Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja (c), Jack Clayton, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Michael Neser, Jack David Wildermuth, Gurinder Sandhu, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson
Victoria faced a tough challenge in their first match of the season, where Western Australia’s bowling lineup dominated, leading to a loss by an innings and 53 runs. However, under new captain Will Sutherland, Victoria has the potential to make a strong comeback. Peter Handscomb, their star batter, is expected to lead the charge.
Last season, Handscomb was prolific, scoring 634 runs in just six matches. With the return of Will Pucovski and promising opener Travis Dean, Victoria’s batting lineup is robust. In the bowling department, Scott Boland and Will Sutherland provide a well-balanced attack.
Victoria Predicted Playing XI: Travis Dean, Will Pucovski, Campbell Kellaway, Peter Handscomb, Jonathan Merlo, Will Sutherland (c), Sam Harper (wk), Mitchell Perry, Fergus O’Neill, Todd Murphy, Scott Boland
The Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay promises a pitch that encourages good stroke play. Batters will find the conditions favorable, with decent bounce and an opportunity to build substantial scores. Seamers may find early bounce but little lateral movement. Mackay’s sunny and pleasant weather should ensure an uninterrupted four-day match.
In the last match played at the Great Barrier Reef Arena, Australia A faced New Zealand A in September 2023 in a low-scoring encounter. The team batting first set a target of 302, and the chasing side was bowled out for 233. Teams in this upcoming match will look to set at least 350 on the board.
Toss: To Bat:
With favorable batting conditions and a sunny weather forecast, the team winning the toss is likely to choose to bat first and set a strong foundation.
Today’s Match Winner: Queensland
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