T20 delivers on promise
After making 7-201, the Tigers denied the Bushrangers by 11 runs thanks largely to a brilliant last two overs delivered by part-time bowlers Michael Dighton (2-12 off three overs) and Luke Butterworth (1-17 off three).
With 12 balls remaining the Vics were cruising at 3-181, needing 21 runs with plenty of wickets in hand.
But Dighton snared the important wicket of David Hussey and leaked only five runs and Butterworth shut down the match in the final over, claiming 1-3.
While Victorian opener Rob Quiney (59 off 38), Aiden Blizzard (54 off 32) and Brad Hodge (33 off 14) produced some fireworks, it was the pyrotechnics from Tasmanian opener Rhett Lockyear that changed the game.
Lockyear smashed 82 off 42 balls in his innings, which included nine fours and four sixes.
He was well-supported by Travis Birt, who belted 52 off 23 balls as the duo combined for a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket.
“Big Dighto (Dighton) got a couple of wickets with his slower ball so he’d probably want to take the credit there,” chuckled Lockyear.
“It’s always nice to get a few in the middle and some runs on the board at this time of the pre-season.
“I guess the name of the game is to get as many runs as you can in as short a time as you can. I was lucky enough to do that today.”
With the Tasmanian squad forced to train indoors for the past few weeks, Lockyear said the side was relishing its time in Lismore.
“It’s a bit warmer than Tassie so it’s always good to get some cricket in on a very good wicket,” he said.
The 26-year-old, who has played mainly one-dayers and Twenty20 for Tasmania, is hopeful of a big season and perhaps playing more first-class cricket.
“I’d like to cement my spot in the four-day team but at the moment the Twenty20 stuff is going quite well,” the Gulgong-bred left-hander said.
Birt’s innings was also impressive as it backed up his score of 90 against New South Wales in the one-day game on Wednesday.
Alstonville’s Brendan Drew was another to hit out to add 20 runs off 13 balls before being run out on the last ball of the innings.
Needing a tick more than 10 runs an over, Victoria looked in control right until the final two overs.
Quiney and Hodge put on 63 for the first wicket then Quiney and Blizzard put on 49 for the second.
Blizzard and Andrew McDonald then combined for a 56-run stand and David Hussey quickly hit his stride.
However, when Hussey was out in the second-last over, McDonald and wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade struggled to keep the run-rate ticking along.
The small crowd yesterday saw29 fours and 18 sixes, not to mention plenty of spectacular catches and some smart fielding.
With Victoria and NSW really concentrating on the Twenty20 form of the game in Lismore, the big bash match between the two tomorrow night should be a ripper, with abigger crowd expected.