Sutherland head to SCG without Shane Watson, Ben Dwarshuis for Twenty20 Cup finals

Picture: Chris Lane
Picture: Chris Lane

Sutherland are to be shorn of at least two stars for the Twenty20 Cup finals on Sunday, with a number of players required to play a Big Bash League practice match instead on Sunday night.

The Sharks advanced to the T20 Cup decider after scoring an epic victory over Sydney as Sutherland chased down 198 with two balls to spare at Drummoyne Oval on Sunday.

Sutherland will play local rivals St George in the preliminary final at the SCG on Sunday morning to decide the Sydney Sixers conference champions, with the winners to take on either Sydney University or Penrith in the final on Sunday night.

But, with a Big Bash practice match between the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder scheduled for Spotless Stadium also on Sunday night, Sutherland and St George have lost a number of star players for the clash.

Sydney Thunder captain and Sutherland batsman Shane Watson along with Thunder and St George batsman Kurtis Patterson are out, as are Sydney Sixers and Saints all-rounder Moises Henriques and Sutherland’s T20 captain Ben Dwarshuis.

It is understood Sutherland have some hope NSW Sheffield Shield spinner Daniel Fallins may be able to play at least the preliminary final if he is not required for the Sixers.

But the Sharks will have Steve Smith available, with the former Australia captain to return to the SCG for the first time since playing a one-day international for Australia against England on January 21.

Dwarshuis told the Leader he respected whatever decision was made about his availability.

“It’s a tough one. Obviously I’d love to be able to play the semi-final with the Sharks and hopefully get through to the final and eventually win it,” he said.

“But when it comes to this sort of stuff you sign a contract and you make yourself available for anything they need you for. If they say they need me I’ll be there. It’s just part of being a professional cricketer.

“Playing against the Thunder at Spotless under lights will come in handy as preparation as well given we play them there in our second game on December 24 in the Big Bash.”

Sutherland reached the preliminary final of last season’s T20 Cup before falling to Sydney.

And Dwarshuis, who was forced to miss last year’s final through injury, said his teammates would take plenty from the experience of that defeat.

“The boys told me last year they had a great time. It’s a very different ground playing at the SCG to any grade ground obviously,” he said.

“The wicket plays differently. The boundaries are bigger. And the occasion can get to people as well. It’s such a well-known ground, it can leave some guys a bit in awe playing there. But most of the guys having already played there it should play into our hands a little bit and take that out of the equation.

“[St George] knocked off a very strong Randwick team and Dave Warner on Sunday. Obviously they’ve continued their form since they comprehensively beat us in the [T20] round match.

“But you never know. In Twenty20 cricket it only takes a few good performances to set the game up. Games are won and lost on such fine moments that we’ll go there knowing that if a few things change from the last game that we weren’t too much out of it.”

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