Runners up: Tasmania
Player of the Tournament: Ben McDermott (Tasmania)
452 – Chris Lynn (SR 118, HS 135)
427 – Ben McDermott (SR 90, HS 117)
404 – D’Arcy Short (SR 138, HS 257)
380 – Sam Heazlett (SR 108, HS 107)
361 – Peter Handscomb (SR 95, HS 89)
18 – Andrew Tye (Ave 16, Econ 5.3)
18 – Gurinder Sandhu (Ave 17, Econ 5.3)
14 – Mark Steketee (Ave 30, Econ 6.4)
12 – Adam Zampa (Ave 25, Econ 5.1)
12 – Sean Abbott (Ave 26, Econ 7.5)
So Victoria won the Cup despite winning only two of its five preliminary matches. The Vics finished below Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia, but won two finals and therefore won the whole thing. I imagine the format will be looked at again next season, but for now, let’s celebrate Victoria’s first one-day title since 2010-11.
Jack Edwards: It’s hard to believe that before this tournament, Jack Edwards had never represented NSW. Edwards finished as the Blues’ top run-scorer (273) and looked composed both in the middle order or at the top, where he was promoted to by the end of the Cup. The former Australian Under-19 representative also became the youngest player to score a 100 in one-day domestic cricket in this country, at only 18 years and 165 days.
Batting depth: Moises Henriques aside, the Blues’ top and middle order made for disappointing reading during the JLT Cup. Kurtis Patterson (119 runs at 24), Nick Larkin (131 runs at 26) and Daniel Hughes (97 runs at 19) all failed to deliver on pre-season promise. Daniel Sams made 152 runs from No.7 and is a really exciting all-round prospect.
Top order batsmen: The Bulls’ top few batsmen had awesome tournaments. After representing the CA XL last year, Max Bryant burst onto the scene with a series of destructive innings and a strike rate of 144. Chris Lynn blasted two centuries and finished as the comp’s highest run-scorer and Sam Heazlett was super impressive with 380 runs.
Bowling economy: Queensland was a high-scoring team, but also conceded plenty. No team conceded more runs than the Bulls, who conceded 1524 in the first five matches. Luke Feldman came into the side and tightened things up after injuries to Jack Wildermuth and Xavier Bartlett, but Billy Stanlake, Mitch Swepson, Mark Steketee and Matt Kuhnemann all had tournament economy rates of over six an over.
Cal Ferguson, Adam Zampa: This JLT Cup highlighted that these guys are definitely good enough to play white ball cricket for Australia. Ferguson played 30 ODIs between 2009 and 2011 before a serious knee injury, but 328 JLT Cup runs, including two centuries, would suggest he’s not far away from adding to those. Adam Zampa didn’t play in Australia’s recent one-day tours to England or Zimbabwe, but he’s back in the white-ball squads for the UAE. He was the best spinner at this tournament, collecting 12 wickets at an average of 25.
Thin bowling line up: On paper, the line-up looks good. Zampa, Kane Richardson, Joe Mennie, Chadd Sayers, Tom Andrews, Cam Valente. Zampa was great and Mennie was economical, but all the others were poor.
Ben McDermott, Gurinder Sandhu: You could be forgiven for thinking Gurinder Sandhu had slipped off the Blues’ list and into cricketing oblivion. But the former Australian ODI player responded with a stellar tournament, collecting 18 wickets including 7-56 and a hattrick in the final. Ben McDermott followed up a quiet CPL with a blistering JLT Cup: two centuries and 427 runs and a deserved player of the tournament.
Final wobbles: Tasmania had done everything right until this point – second on the table, strong at the top with Matthew Wade and McDermott, George Bailey, Jordan Silk and Simon Milenko solid in the middle and a really versatile bowling attack. But while they didn’t show up for the final, they can be really pleased with the JLT Cup as a whole.
Pete Handscomb: A sensational tournament from the Test discard, who racked up 361 runs and passed 50 four times. The Victorian captain handled his side beautifully when it mattered, with the win over Western Australia definitely his highlight of the tournament. Handscomb was also required to keep wicket at the back end of the competition after Seb Gotch’s illness and took four catches in the final.
Contracted players: For a state with 29 contracted players (including rookies), it seemed bizarre that Victoria fielded three uncontracted players during the Cup. Yes, three Vics are in the UAE, and there were a few injuries, but bringing in Nic Maddinson, Fawad Ahmed and Andrew Fekete seemed like the Victorian selectors might have made a few mistakes.
Andrew Tye: This guy is a superstar in limited overs cricket, plain and simple. After taking the most wickets in the 2018 IPL, he just went and did the same thing at the JLT Cup. He’s now a regular in Australian white-ball sides, and batsmen are still struggling to get on top of his many variations.
The competition: Yes, you have to win when it matters, but the fact Western Australia didn’t even make the final seems like a flaw in the format. The fact this is the only flaw in the Warriors means it was a tournament with lots of positive signs, including Josh Phillipe, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Usman Qadir and the return of Nathan Coulter-Nile.