NSW Blues skipper Steve Smith hails arrival of ‘mature’ opener Nic Maddinson

Slam Dunk: Ben Dunk is bowled by Nathan Lyon. Photo: Chris Lane Centurion: Nic Maddinson bats during the Matador Cup match between Tasmania and NSW at Hurstville Oval. Photo: Mark Nolan

Test skipper Steve Smith believes the emergence of Nic Maddinson as a “mature” player is a huge boon for n cricket after his NSW teammate hammered 118 not out in the eight-wicket one-day victory over Tasmania on Monday.

Maddinson hammered 15 fours and four sixes in his run-a-ball knock – the last six winning  the game with 25 balls to spare – in a knock that ensured NSW remained undefeated in the Matador Cup. He couldn’t have picked a better time to impress with the national selection panel, including  chairman Rod Marsh, at Hurstville alongside n coach Darren Lehmann.

Maddinson said his summer’s goal was to build upon each innings after throwing away chances to make big scores in previous campaigns.

“Nic Maddinson was outstanding,” Smith said. “He’s maturing and starting to play some very good cricket which is exciting not just for NSW but n cricket as well – he’s a huge talent. He’s been hitting the ball nicely all pre-season and I think he’s done that over the last couple of years; scored runs in pre-season games but died off when the real games have come around. He’s started well and hopefully he can keep it up.”

NSW dismissed Tasmania  for 217 after Mitchell Starc bagged 5-39 and they were set 193 to win off 43 overs. Rain twice stopped play. Maddinson wasted no time mowing them down and finished with the second one-day century of his career a week after what could well have been his breakthrough 108 against the CA XI.

“The emphasis has been [being] hungry for runs,” said Maddinson, the man of the match. “I’m not looking for the boundary ball quite as often and be happy to get down the other end and just chill out for a little while and soak up some balls in the game.”

Maddinson and Eddie Cowan launched the Blues off to a flying start with a 117-run partnership before Cowan was stumped for 47 off Xavier Doherty’s bowling.

NSW skipper Steve Smith strode to the crease the highest run-scorer in the tournament and was dismissed the same way off the very next ball. However, Maddinson and Shane Watson, who finished 25 not out, steered the home team to victory.

NSW fast bowling coach Geoff Lawson hailed Starc as a great example of what a paceman with rhythm and confidence can achieve after Starc took his 19th tournament wicket at an average of six.

“In a few of the matches he’s played, especially against the CA XI, he was entitled to have a rest after eight overs but he was ‘Nah, give me the ball’,” Lawson said. “He’s like any athlete in form; he’s in a great vein and wants to keep going.”

However, his first three overs were a far cry from the efforts that had terrorised batsmen over the last week, yielding 0-24.

Tasmania’s Dom Michael inflicted plenty of damage and seemed determined to help his state regain pride after their shock last-start loss to the CA XI. While willing, Michael didn’t get much of an opportunity to savour his half century – he was bowled by Starc  for 54 – providing the catalyst for Starc to run through the Tasmanians.

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