VICTORIAN PREMIER CRICKET
ROUND 5 PREVIEW
Carlton vs Casey-South Melbourne
22 October, 11am, Princes Park
Ladder Positions: Carlton (3-0, 2nd) v Casey South-Melbourne (2-1, 5th)
The improved Swans had mixed fortunes in last weekend’s Premier double-header, losing their first match for the season on Sunday, leaving them at 2-1 heading into this massive clash.
The Blues have started the season brilliantly, and are currently undefeated.
What has been a cornerstone of Carlton’s success to date is the fact they have scored 713 runs in just three matches.
The weather is set to cause havoc, but the teams should still get on the park for some meaningful play.
It may seem simple enough; but the game may be won or lost for the Swans by how well they can bowl.
The Blues have some serious star power, with Mark Phelan, Tom Beaton, Tom Smyth and Lachlan McKenna all having strong starts to the season with the bat.
But the Swans pace quartet have started the season in brilliant fashion, with Nathan Lambden, Brendan Rose, Leigh Diston and Jackson Fry, set to be vital in the pursuit of another massive scalp.
Rose has been highly impressive in the start to this season, with his control and stump-to-stump line making him a tricky prospect for opposition batsman.
With the bat, Kasun Suriatchie will miss the match, but has been replaced by middle-order batsman Chris Benedek, who has had an excellent start the season in the seconds.
Ryan Eaton also showed what he is capable last Sunday, with an excellent and pressure filled 64 against the Bombers, while skipper Lachlan Sperling and Devin Pollock remain vital cogs in the batting line-up.
Round 5 First XI: 2016/17 Premier First Statistics
Ashan Wijayakumara 3 matches, 58 runs, Avg 19.33, HS 39
Devin Pollock (Wk) 3 matches, 45 runs, Avg 15.00, HS 19
Lachlan Sperling (Capt) 3 matches, 64 runs, Avg 21.33, HS 42
Chris Benedek First match of the season in the First XI
Ryan Eaton 3 matches, 69 runs, Avg 23.00, HS 64
Michael Wallace 3 matches, 60 runs, Avg 30.00, HS 28*
Dylan Hadfield 3 matches, 65 runs, Avg 32.50, HS 32, 3 wickets, Avg 29.00, BB 2/31
Brendan Rose 3 matches, 7 runs, Avg 7.00, HS 4*, 6 wickets, Avg 14.33, BB 2/10
Nathan Lambden 3 matches, 15 runs, Avg 15.00, HS 11, 7 wickets, Avg 10.71, BB 3/40
Leigh Diston 3 matches, 1 run, Avg NA, HS 1*, 6 wickets, Avg 22.00, BB 3/46
Jackson Fry 3 matches, has not batted, 4 wickets, Avg 24.50, BB 3/34
Players to watch:
Casey South-Melbourne skipper Lachlan Sperling is starting to find some touch after a match-winning knock of 42 last Saturday. It seems like a big score is right around the corner and would love nothing more than to fire against a strong Blues side. Quick Leigh Diston has also started the season well and will again be crucial with the new ball against the Blues. He is improving each week and will need to get amongst the wickets once again.
Carlton gun Mark Phelan is the key wicket for the Swans, who need to remove him early and limit his ability to score so freely. He is averaging 90.50 in his first three matches, and is a dangerous batsman. Captain Lachlan McKenna is also another player the Swans need to nab early, because if he gets going, the Blues will post a big total if batting first.
The Swans are the underdogs despite sitting fifth on the ladder, but will be confident they can bring the same intensity into their first two matches of the season.
Captain Lachlan Sperling spoke during the week of the need to find consistency in their intensity levels in the field, and that is crucial against the strongest sides.
But it could come down to whether the Swans bowlers can restrict the Blues from scoring heavily once again.
The Swans seem to relish the underdog tag, and a victory against an incredibly potent Blues line-up would set the platform for the rest of the season.
They have done it before, now to do it again.