South Australia win but lose finals race
Jason Gillespie's five wickets drove South Australia to a satisfying victory, but it wasn't enough to reach the Pura Cup final. While the Redbacks needed an outright win to stay in contention for the March 24 decider against Queensland, they also required a draw in the Victoria-Western Australia game in Melbourne to allow their passage.
Shortly after Gillespie's 5 for 56 tied up the six points with a 45-run success, Victoria marked their five-wicket victory. Both New South Wales and South Australia set their sights on a win today and they locked eyes throughout the conclusion.
New South Wales started the morning wanting 338 and their charge was immediately hit by Gillespie, who collected Phil Jaques lbw to his opening ball before a lifting delivery accounted for Matthew Phelps for 1. Gillespie troubled the batsmen throughout the innings, returning to pick up the dangerous pair of Dominic Thornely (41) in the second session and Brad Haddin (46) after tea to drop the Blues to 5 for 216.
The opener Greg Mail steered the chase on a tense occasion with a composed 79 to go with his first-innings 141, but his side struggled to nail the big partnership that would have made the target more comfortable. Darren Lehmann's slow bowling upset Mail's push for twin centuries and the caught behind was a crucial dismissal.
New South Wales stole a dramatic one-wicket win when the sides met in the ING Cup final last month and this match became even tighter when Paul Rofe picked up Corey Richards, Jason Krejza and Aaron Bird as the Blues lost 3 for 14 and slipped to 8 for 258. A fine Cullen Bailey catch on the long-on boundary ended Matthew Nicholson's stay and when Gillespie picked up his fifth victim in the second-last over the Redbacks had won. However, Victoria's victory left the home side in third spot.