By seven wickets, Victoria 298 and 3 for 64 (Harris 29, Short 23*, Gannon 1-9) defeated Western Australia 122 and 236 (Cartwright 82, Boland 4-69, Perry 3-44).
Victoria defeated Western Australia by seven wickets at the WACA to set up a meeting between the two teams in the Sheffield Shield final next week.
Victoria had many hiccups before completing the target in the 27th over, needing just 61 runs to secure a position in the championship match beginning on March 23. Day three of the match was interrupted due to rain and poor lighting, but Victoria eventually reached the target in the 27th over.
Victoria overtook Queensland for second spot as they seek redemption after losing to Western Australia in last year’s decider, which ended in a tie.
Their triumph was made possible by dismissing Western Australia for 122 on the opening day and building a first-innings advantage of 176 runs thanks to half-centuries from Marcus Harris, Matthew Short, and 20-year-old Campbell Kellaway.
Since the commencement of the Shield season one month ago, Victoria has recorded four consecutive victories to blast into the final.
After the game, Victoria coach Chris Rogers stated, “I believed we were staring down the barrel of a wooden spoon.” It has been gratifying to see a large number of younger players contribute to the team’s recent success.
“With some of our inexperience, you’d think the bubble may pop a little bit, but they’ve persevered to get the job done.”
Victoria will spend a few days at home in Melbourne before making the long trek back to Perth for the final.
When they return from Australia’s Test tour of India, they have a number of selection conundrums, with captain Peter Handscomb and off-spinner Todd Murphy perhaps available.
Rogers stated, “It will be difficult and heartbreaking for a few individuals, but this is part of being a professional athlete; you must deal with these selection concerns.”
It was WA’s first loss of the season at home, and despite having clinched hosting rights for the final, they were largely listless throughout.
The additions of speedy Lance Morris, who has returned from Indiam, and stalwarts Joel Paris and Matt Kelly will significantly bolster the Western Australia offense.
WA’s head coach, Adam Voges, anticipates that all three players will be healthy and ready to play. This week will provide us with many lessons, which will aid us in our preparation for next week.
Even though a victory appeared probable, seasoned openers Harris and Travis Dean took nothing for granted on the fourth morning due to the enormous stakes. Before Dean was bowled for a duck by the fast Charlie Stobo, they had not scored in the first few overs.
Harris and up-and-coming batsman Ashley Chandrasinghe endured some tense moments as Aaron Hardie threatened with the new ball. Before falling for two to seamer David Moody, Chandrasinghe’s arduous 49-ball innings was at sea.
Ashes hopes Harris, who led the first innings with 84 runs, displayed signature strokes before being dismissed for 29 as Victoria stumbled to 3 for 32. However, Short dispatched a number of excellent boundaries during a purple spell to secure Victoria’s spot in the final.
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