NSW discover the ‘next Smith, Warner’ in win over Bulls

Justin Chadwick |

Ollie Davies, here in the One Day Cup, has been tipped for big things by captain Moises Henriques.
Ollie Davies, here in the One Day Cup, has been tipped for big things by captain Moises Henriques.

Emerging NSW star Ollie Davies has been compared to greats including Steve Smith and David Warner after guiding his team to a five-wicket Sheffield Shield victory over Queensland.

Chasing 130 for victory, NSW sealed victory on Thursday in 28.2 overs courtesy of a blazing knock from Daniel Hughes (54 off 31 balls).

Davies contributed a handy 25 after NSW had sunk to 4-91.

But it was Davies’s first-innings score of 131 off 147 balls that proved the difference – helping lift NSW to 316 and earning him man-of-the-match honours.

Davies finished his Shield campaign with 670 runs at an average of 67 – the fourth-highest run tally of the season.

Beau Webster (914), Cameron Bancroft (778) and Nathan McSweeney (762) finished above him, but they all played 10 matches compared to Davies’s seven.

NSW captain Moises Henriques is tipping a bright future for Davies.

“I’ve been playing cricket professionally for 19, 20 years, and I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of young, special batters come through the NSW ranks,” Henriques said.

“Olly seems to be another one of those guys.

“He’s very hard to stop. He’s always moving the scoreboard forward.

“He reminds me a lot of a mix between Steve Smith, David Warner and even Phil Hughes – they’re always looking to score runs.

“They’re able to score runs in areas that other batters maybe can’t.

“For him to come out and score three hundreds in seven games this season in bowler-friendly conditions – it just shows that mindset of always scoring runs and putting the bowlers under pressure.”

NSW started their season with two losses and a draw – extending their winless run in the red-ball format to 15 matches.

But a 10-wicket win over Western Australia in November sparked a charge up the table, with NSW ending the season in third spot with four wins, three draws and three losses.

For Queensland, it’s a case of back to the drawing board after finishing dead last on the ladder with just two wins and two draws from 10 matches.

The Bulls started the final day against NSW at 8-287, and were bowled out for 301 despite the best efforts of Xavier Bartlett (69).

NSW wanted to make light work of the run chase, and Hughes went into Twenty20 mode as he cracked six fours and two sixes on the way to a 29-ball half-century.

His departure a short time later left NSW at 3-75, and there were some nerves at 4-91 after Matthew Gilkes was dismissed for six.

But steady knocks from Henriques (29no) and Davies eased NSW to victory.

Debutant Bulls paceman Callum Vidler snared 3-38, following on from 2-50 in NSW’s first innings.

“It’s not the result you want on debut, but it was cool to be out there,” Vidler said.