D’Arcy Short made a half-century after WA’s bowlers cleaned up Victoria for 143 despite Australia captain Aaron Finch returning to form with 67
Western Australia 145 for 4(Short 54, Marsh 31, McClure 3-38) beat Victoria 143 (Finch 67, Hardie 3-28, Richardson 2-12) by six wickets
Western Australia stormed into the Marsh Cup final after their international-quality attack razed Victoria for 143 to set up a six-wicket win with a bonus point at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.
They chased the target in just over 27 overs to also finish on top of the table after six rounds. Western Australia will now face New South Wales at the same venue on Friday after the latter’s match against South Australia was abandoned due to rain. It was the fourth time in six matches this season that New South Wales have had a match abandoned without a ball bowled. But eight points from four no results plus two wins and a superior net run rate were enough for them to sneak past Tasmania into second spot on the table.
The final will be played at the neutral venue in Victoria after Cricket Australia locked in the schedule last month when Western Australia’s border was shut due to Covid-19.
Western Australia had nine international representatives in their XI, with Marcus Stoinis being rested to spend more time at home. They were also missing Mitch Marsh, Josh Inglis, Cameron Green and Ashton Agar who are currently with Australia’s Test squad in Pakistan.
Western Australia won the toss and sent Victoria in, as Behrendorff snared both openers Jake Fraser-McGurk and Mackenzie Harvey to start the rot. Victoria slumped to 86 for 7 thanks to a combination of good bowling and poor decision making.
Peter Handscomb nicked a beautiful outswinger from Matt Kelly, while Glenn Maxwell was a touch unlucky, flicking Hardie to deep backward square where Cameron Bancroft took an outstanding catch in two parts, having to lob it up to himself to avoid stepping outside the rope with the ball in hand.
And Nic Maddinson then ran himself out taking on Kelly’s pinpoint throw from mid-on, before Richardson ripped out two in two overs.
Finch was left to pick up the pieces and he shepherded the tail with a patient 67 from 100 balls. He struck seven boundaries in what is likely to be his last hit before the limited-overs tour of Pakistan.
Western Australia cruised to the target of 144 after the early loss of Josh Philippe. Short and Shaun Marsh put on 74 for the second wicket to break the back of the chase. The pair fell in quick succession to Cameron McClure, who took three wickets. But Hilton Cartwright smashed five boundaries in 11 balls to ice the game and secure the bonus point.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo