South Australia vanquish Victoria, to host final
South Australia 5 for 147 (Harris 41, Borgas 41, Holland 2-23) beat Victoria 4 for 144 (Wade 52*, Christian 2-41) by five wickets
South Australia Redbacks spun their way to victory over the Victoria Bushrangers at the MCG - guaranteeing them the top spot and a home final on February 5. The Redbacks spinners Adil Rashid, Nathan Lyon and Aaron O'Brien restricted the hosts to a seemingly below-par score of 4 for 144, on a somewhat slow deck, and their batsmen knocked off the runs with five wickets to spare.
It could have been much worse for the Bushrangers, but big-hitting wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (52 off 31 balls) saved their blushes, smashing 41 of the 43 runs scored in the final three overs.
Michael Klinger started positively for the Redbacks but was run out thanks to some brilliant outfielding from Evan Gulbis. Aiden Blizzard looked sharp in the time he was at the crease, but was dismissed by a Brad Hodge full toss - caught at deep midwicket when he would have normally put it into the stands.
Callum Ferguson fell cheaply before Daniel Harris and Cameron Borgas steadied the innings, leaving room for a cameo from Daniel Christian (28 off 17) to seal the match. Young spinner Jon Holland was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, finishing with 2 for 23.
The reigning champions have now been condemned to a bottom-place finish while the Redbacks have eight days off before they play the final at home on February 5. New South Wales play Queensland on Saturday night to decide where the Preliminary Final will be played against Tasmania.
Andrew Fuss is a freelance writer based in Adelaide