Ponting XII captain Will Sutherland held his nerve in a thrilling last over to secure victory off the penultimate ball against the Gilchrist XII in today’s Pathways BBL curtain-raiser at the SCG.
Requiring 16 to win off the final six balls, Sutherland crashed three boundaries to lead his side to an upset victory. The Ponting XII – comprising Australia’s best under-17s players – chased down the total of 3-165 set by the Gilchrist XII – which featured the country’s best under-19s.
Sutherland won the toss and sent the Gilchrist XII in to bat, but Victorian run machine Will Pucovski continued his outstanding form. Pucovski carried his bat on his way to 87 runs off 59 deliveries, while NSW product Param Uppal contributed an even 50 off 45 deliveries.
Victorian quick Zak Evans finished with 2-38 off three overs, while Tasmanian spinner Jarrod Freeman was economical with 1-19 off three overs.
In reply, NSW’s Jack Edwards and Queensland’s Angus Lovell got the Ponting XII off to a steady start, reaching 75 without loss.
Edwards (41 off 33), Lovell (35 off 29) and Harrison Wood all fell in quick succession, as the run rate soared to almost two runs per ball required off the final six overs.
NSW’s Ryan Hadley (2-22 off four) and Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes rookie Mac Wright (1-22 off four) were impressive with the ball for the Gilchrist XII.
However, NSW Blues and Sydney Thunder rookie Jason Sangha produced an entertaining knock of 38 off 21 deliveries, and Austin Waugh scored 27 off 28 deliveries, before Sutherland (15 off nine) finished the job.
The match was a first for the CA Pathways Program, showcasing the country’s best underage talent ahead of the BBL|06 clash between the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers.
Former Australian stars Adam Gilchrist and Brad Haddin were among the big names at the SCG to offer advice to the emerging talent.