Victoria book place in Pura Cup decider
Victoria sealed their place in the Pura Cup final against Queensland for the fourth time in seven seasons with a fighting victory against Western Australia at Melbourne's Junction Oval. The Bushrangers had not won on the ground for 15 years, but they ended the drought at a vital stage and fought off the four other teams vying for a place in the decider.
Entering the last round in second place, the Bushrangers were delayed by an hour at the start because of a wet ground, although the showers that were forecast for during the day did not arrive and they skipped home with five wickets in hand. Chasing 361 to secure their spot, the Bushrangers resumed at 0 for 43 and almost escaped damage in the first session as they reached 106 by lunch. Jason Arnberger (32) was the only casualty when he hooked Ben Edmondson to fine leg while Lloyd Mash produced a mature 82 that laid an ideal platform.
Mash's fifty arrived with a six off Brett Dorey, but he was denied a century by a smart catch from Chris Rogers at second slip off Steve Magoffin. Western Australia, who also wanted a win to face the Bulls in the Gabba final on March 24, had to work for their breakthroughs and the third came after tea when Nick Jewell departed to David Bandy's medium pace on 58.
Bandy was also responsible for removing Brad Hodge, who made a breezy 52 from 86 balls, and giving the Bushrangers a fright, but David Hussey's half-century in an 80-run stand with Cameron White eased their nerves. White was unbeaten on 46 when the winning runs were scored while Jon Moss was 15 not out. The victory was Victoria's first at the ground since 1991 and it was achieved with the state's sixth-highest run-chase.