It took just 35 balls for 20-year-old Ollie Davies to create a buzz in Australian cricket circles again on Monday.

Fresh from his first BBL season with the Sydney Thunder, the batsman made his List A debut for New South Wales, facing Victoria at North Sydney Oval.

Davies was thrown in the deep end with his side at 4-73, but he rose to the occasion by smoking a 35-ball half century alongside Steve Smith before being dismissed for 57 off 41.

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Davies’ thrilling debut 50

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Anyone that watched the start of Davies’ BBL career in December wouldn’t have been surprised by his success.

The right-hander slid into the Thunder middle-order and made 36 off 22, and then 48 off 23 in his first two matches.

A lean run followed for the rest of the season, but Davies came back with a bang on Monday, hitting three sixes and four fours against an attack featuring gun quick James Pattinson, rising star Will Sutherland and former Test spinner Jon Holland.

The performance came after a chat from England international Sam Billings when Davies hit his form slump in the BBL.

“I was a little bit down and he just spoke to me and said why don’t you watch some of your highlights of when you were absolutely whacking them,” Davies told ESPNCricinfo. “He got me to think in a more positive mindset, like how I was playing at the start of the tournament and before then when I would go back to grade cricket and perform quite well.

“He was just dumbing it down for me and said what were you doing well when you’re batting well, and how can you get back to that now.”

Man, super impressive 50 from Ollie Davies.

50 off 35 with some really clean striking. Loves a pullshot for six as well.

Great innings so far on his debut. #MarshCup

— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) February 15, 2021

Man, super impressive 50 from Ollie Davies.

50 off 35 with some really clean striking. Loves a pullshot for six as well.

Great innings so far on his debut. #MarshCup

— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) February 15, 2021

What was most impressive from Davies on Monday was the timing of his runs.

Smith was struggling to find his rhythm on 30 after his first 50 balls, but Davies’ run-scoring took the pressure off the gun batsman and allowed him to build into his innings.

Smith was 62 off 85 by the time Davies departed, and went on to make a century off 115 balls.

“There was a lot of pressure on him to not only get a partnership with Smith but to keep the scoreboard moving,” Brad Haddin said on Fox Cricket. “And I think what he did do was take a lot of pressure off Steve Smith.

Ollie Davies’ brother takes screamer

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“Smith was struggling a bit with his timing but Davies kept the scoreboard moving, he took the attack up to the bowling, allowed Smith to get settled and get used to the wicket and now, from a NSW point of view, you hope he can take the game really deep.”

Haddin said Davies had not only played a “classy” knock, but had acquired invaluable experience by batting with the best.

“To have the opportunity to play with Smith … (it’s) on-the-job training with someone as class as Steve Smith, who sums conditions up well. He will be talking him through the innings, what to expect. Great education for Ollie Davies.”



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