Rogers guides Victoria into one-day final
Victoria's stand-in captain Chris Rogers helped book his team a place in the one-day final by guiding a solid chase of 246 against New South Wales at the MCG. Victoria got home with three balls to spare and they will play Queensland in the decider on February 22, a match that will be at the MCG should the Bulls lose their remaining game.
Rogers and Rob Quiney gave Victoria a terrific start and put on 77 for the opening wicket before a pair of strikes to Nathan Hauritz pegged back the chase. Quiney departed for 50 and Brad Hodge followed two balls later without scoring, before two wickets to Moises Henriques added to Victoria's problems.
But Rogers, who was preferred to Hodge as the leader with Andrew McDonald a late withdrawal due to a hamstring twinge, kept a cool head and his 74 from 109 deliveries ensured the required rate rarely got far beyond six an over. The loss of Rogers with seven overs to go gave the Blues a spark, but Damien Wright and John Hastings got Victoria home after they needed 17 from the last two overs.
Victoria's bowlers also played key roles in restricting the New South Wales total despite several batsmen making promising starts. Bryce McGain was particularly valuable with 2 for 33 from his ten overs, including the key wicket of the demoted national opener David Warner, who was bowled having raced to 47 from 45 balls.
Henriques made a handy contribution of 38 to add to his 2 for 35 two days before his potential Twenty20 international debut and the wicketkeeper Daniel Smith chipped in with a late 36. However, Smith hurt himself while batting and handed the wicketkeeping gloves to Ben Rohrer during Victoria's innings.
New South Wales are in fifth place on the table and could yet finish last, depending on the result of South Australia's game against Queensland next Wednesday. That match will also determine the venue of the final, with the Bulls to host Victoria if they beat the Redbacks.