In the Final Round of the 2019 Championship, NT were fixtured to play Cricket Australia XI at the Murdoch University Sports Ground (West Oval). The CA XI is coached and managed by former Australia representatives Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers. The side comprises identified players from around the nation that didn’t make their respective state squads.

Territory captain, Adi Dave, called correctly and decided CA could bat first. Rajdeep Singh and Sam Bammant took the new ball with Singh errant in line, conceding nine wides in his initial five overs. Spinners, Coby Edmondstone and Dave, replaced the seam pair but after 15 overs, CA were 0-79. Off-spinner, Sam Rahaley was introduced with immediate effect – taking the first wicket (Ryley Smith – 67 off 51 balls faced) after an opening partnership of 115. By contrast, Smith’s opening partner, Isaac Higgins, built his innings and was third out for a patient 112 off 151 balls faced.

CA batted its full 50 overs and at the compulsory close had amassed 5-287 - although expensive, Dave, was the chief Territory wicket taker with 2-65.

Again, the Territory first wicket partnership was short lived after makeshift opener, Coby Edmondstone, was removed with only five runs on the board. Banjo Waring was promoted to the top of the order in the previous game and together with, Sam Elder, they put on 68 for the second wicket before Elder became another Territory batsman to lose his wicket while seeming to be set. Waring followed three runs later and all his persistence was to little avail as the NT slumped to 3-78.

Some resistance was provided by Rahaley in the middle order, but a steady progression of wickets resulted in the NT falling short of the winning total by 84 runs. CA off-spinners Jackson Sinfield and Nivethan Radhakrishnan took three wickets each.

Territory coach, Udara Weerasinghe, was not completely happy with the two wins – he believes there are ways to improve on that.

“Ï can’t be completely comfortable with two wins – it seems to me that we should follow the lead of other states and appoint a coach full-time,” he said.

“We prepared the team as well as possible given the time constraints and player locations. I have said before it is not a lack of skill sets, it is the mind-set.”

“Our batting was the disappointing feature. In too many games we didn’t go on with the starts - 30’s, 40’s and 50’s don’t win games at this level. Too many got starts and failed to finish.”

“But they were a good group and I wish them well in the future.”

Match Scores: Cricket Australia XI 5-287 (Isaac Higgins 112, Ryley Smith 67; Adi Dave 2-65) d Northern Territory 10-203 (Sam Rahaley 56; Jackson Sinfield 3-28, Nivethan Radhakrishnan 3-38).