Western Australia have won the Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania by four wickets at the WACA Ground to remain in contention for the final.
Western Australia coach Justin Langer is aiming to add a Sheffield Shield title to their recent Big Bash triumph, after Saturday’s impressive four-wicket win against Tasmania lifted them within sight of the ladder leaders.
The Warriors, having resumed on Saturday on 2-27, successfully chasing the target of 256 – reaching 6-259 late on day four thanks to a pair of half centuries to veterans Marcus North (79) and Adam Voges (75).
Both the Warriors and Tigers needed to win the game to remain in touch with ladder leaders New South Wales and South Australia, who are both on 24 points – four points ahead of WA.
With three games to go, the Warriors take on the Blues both in Perth and Sydney while also facing Queensland in between.
Strong performances against NSW could make or break WA’s hopes of making the Shield final with the state still on a high after the Perth Scorchers won the BBL title.
“At the start of the season we set out to win a Sheffield Shield, win a (domestic one day competition), win a Champions League and win a BBL competition,” Langer said.
“We understand that this keeps us in a really good position in this competition with two games against NSW coming up so our destiny is in our own hands.
“If we can play well against them home and away, it sets us up really well.”
Despite WA losing Marcus Harris (18) early in the final day’s play by 21-year-old paceman Sam Rainbird, Voges and man-of-the-match North put the Warriors in the box seat with a terrific 135-run stand.
Tasmania crept back into the match when Rainbird removed North shortly before tea, and caught a sniff of victory when Voges followed soon after – leaving the Warriors 53 shy of the win with five wickets in hand.
But youngsters Mitch Marsh (18), Ashton Turner (13no) and Sam Whiteman (29no) made solid contributions, the latter pair guiding the home side to victory with a sixth-wicket partnership of 39.
WA’s next task comes on Thursday hosting NSW at the WACA with Jason Behrendorff set to replace the hamstrung Nathan Coulter-Nile – but Langer feels they’ve already cleared the major hurdle.
Meanwhile, Tasmanian captain George Bailey was delighted with his team’s bowling effort led by Hilfenhaus (6-82, 1-44) with strong support from Sam Rainbird (0-45, 2-61), Andrew Fekete (1-55, 2-54) and Luke Butterworth (1-65, 0-21).
But he knows that the Tigers need bigger scores from their batsmen.
“Our challenge as a batting group is to learn to restart the partnerships when we lose a wicket,” Bailey said.
“We were probably 50 runs short in that innings, and about 100 short in the second.”
Tasmania’s hopes of making the final are all but over with the Tigers stuck on 10 points with one win.