Tasmania v Western Australia, Twenty20 Big Bash January 27, 2011

Bailey leads Tasmania into the finals

The Bulletin by Alex Malcolm

Tasmania 7 for 170 (Bailey 51, Mahmood 2-16) beat Western Australia 8 for 130 (Ronchi 43, Krejza 2-17) by 40 runs

Tasmania secured a place in the Big Bash finals with a comfortable 40-run victory over Western Australia at Bellerive. It was an even performance by the Tigers who were led well by captain George Bailey. He clubbed a match-winning 51 from 30 balls to lift his side to a total of 7 for 170.

After winning the toss and batting first, Tasmania suffered an indifferent start losing both Jonathan Wells and Ed Cowan to Sajid Mahmood, who had his back up and chest out on a pitch that provided good pace and bounce.

The innings really kick started in the fifth over when Mark Cosgrove, battling for form, clubbed four consecutive boundaries off Mick Lewis. Cosgrove's fluency with the blade was offset by his running between the wickets. A problem with his hamstring hamstrung Bailey early on as the skipper was denied several twos.

But Bailey found another way. He reverse swept Adam Voges' first ball from outside leg for four, then clubbed Michael Beer onto the hill. He took two more sixes off Lewis' second over before succumbing to part-timer Michael Swart.

Swart, bowling nothing more than darts that have been quite effective in Perth grade cricket, grabbed the three key scalps in Bailey, Cosgrove (49) and Travis Birt. Tasmania looked like they might fall short of a par score but some late hitting from Jason Krejza in the last over damaged Lewis' figures beyond repair and gave the Tigers great momentum.

With that momentum they seized the match at the start of the Warriors chase. The visitors imploded to slump to 4 for 37. Marcus North curiously walked out at six and could not salvage the wreck. Luke Ronchi was the only shining light with 43 off 29, although he was dropped twice by substitute Brendon Drew.

Drew was on for Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. The popular Pakistani tweaked an ankle in the field. He went off initially, then returned only to bowl one ball before collapsing in a screaming heap. His fitness for the Preliminary final will be crucial to Tasmania's chances. Bailey manoeuvred his depleted bowling line-up well with Krejza, James Faulkner, and part-timer Rhett Lockyear all claiming two miserly wickets each.

Tasmania will now watch the next two games with interest to see if they play South Australia or New South Wales for a spot in the final.

The Warriors are instead left to ponder another disappointing tournament. Western Australia has failed to win silverware in any format since 2003-04.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth