Tasmania hang on to force thrilling draw
Tasmania 5 for 384 dec and 9 for 396 (Mason 126, Watson 92, Dighton 62, Di Venuto 50) drew with Western Australia 6 for 562 dec and 6 for 270 dec
Xavier Doherty and Gerard Denton, Tasmania's No. 10 and 11, survived the last 22 balls to help their team scrape a draw in a thrilling Pura Cup match at the Bellerive Oval at Hobart. Requiring 449 for victory in 92 overs after Western Australia declared their second innings at 6 for 270, Tasmania were 215 for 1 at one stage, and required an eminently gettable 234 runs from 41 overs. An improbable win was on the cards, before the Western Australian bowlers clawed back.
The run-chase was set up by a superb 189-run second-wicket partnership between Scott Mason (126) and Shane Watson (92). Coming together after the early wicket of Jamie Cox, Mason and Watson not only stabilised the innings, but also scored at a fair clip, ensuring that the asking rate was always under control. Michael Di Venuto (62) and Michael Dighton (50) chipped in with useful contributions too, as Tasmania went into the last 20 overs with seven wickets in hand.
However, Kade Harvey, the right-arm medium-pacer, spoilt Tasmania's party, dismissing Di Venuto and Dighton in consecutive overs, and then nailing Daniel Marsh (20) soon after, as Tasmania slumped to 7 for 385. Ben Edmondson then caused more panic among the Tasmanian ranks, taking two quick wickets, before Doherty and Denton hung on to deny Western Australia a win.
Justin Langer, the WA captain, spoke to AAP and said, "The only regret was we didn't take the 10th wicket. We always thought we were in the game and, as it turned out, we were."
Dan Marsh, the Tasmania captain, said that 450 off 90 overs was always going to be a huge ask. He said, "I think we had a great effort today, I am really proud of the boys. We got ourselves in a position with wickets in hand [at tea]. But if you lose wickets, it is hard to pick up the scoring rate when you first come in and that's what happened and unfortunately we couldn't get there."
He added, "We would have to have played out of our skins to get there."
But Marsh said Tasmania - unchanged on 22 points behind the leaders Victoria on 32 - remained on track for the Pura Cup final. He said, "It is a bit disappointing now, it looks like we can't host a final, we are too far back for that. We are a lot better off than we normally are and our destiny is in our own hands."