Lewis and Crosthwaite give Victoria Twenty20 title
Victoria 6 for 160 (Crosthwaite 52*) beat Tasmania 8 for 150 (Anderson 40, Lewis 4-34) by 10 runs
A late attack from Adam Crosthwaite followed by Mick Lewis' excellent bowling earned Victoria their second consecutive Twenty20 title as they beat Tasmania at the MCG. In front of a mammoth crowd of close to 30,000, Crosthwaite turned Victoria's lacklustre opening into a respectable 6 for 160, enough to worry several Tasmania batsmen into throwing their wickets away in the chase.
The bowlers delivered the victory and kept the Bushrangers' unbeaten Twenty20 record going. Lewis turned the match in Victoria's favour in the 11th over when he claimed two wickets in two balls. Tasmania were 3 for 90 and were set to overcome the target when Lewis had George Bailey caught at midwicket for 9 and Adam Polkinghorne caught at third man attempting a glided six.
The part-time spinners Brad Hodge and David Hussey then ripped through their overs quickly and tightly, and when Dane Anderson (40) misjudged an attempted slog to long on, the Tigers were 6 for 114. The required run-rate escaped from the visitors and the 18 they needed from the final two overs was too much. Anderson and Daniel Marsh had Tasmania on top at 2 for 76 in the ninth over but it was Lewis who also broke that partnership when he had Marsh caught at deep midwicket.
The contest had looked like a one-sided affair as the Tasmania bowlers kept the runs down and the wickets falling early in Victoria's innings. Brendan Drew and Damien Wright put the ball on a good length in the opening stages and Hodge, Aiden Blizzard and Rob Quiney all fell cheaply to skied catches, trying to lift the run-rate. When Luke Butterworth and Polkinghorne began landing yorkers the frustration grew for Victoria, who were in big trouble at 6 for 92 from 14 overs.
But Crosthwaite and Jon Moss turned things around in the 17th over, taking 20 off Marsh, including a six each. Crosthwaite used his feet to the fast and slow bowlers and his late blitz featured consecutive sixes off Damien Wright, one over cover and an even better one over point. His 68-run partnership with Moss took only 36 balls; Crosthwaite remained unbeaten on 52 and Moss on 20.
Marsh, the Tasmania captain, said the game got away from his team when Hussey and Hodge tightened the screws. "The spinners came on and we just didn't deal with them," Marsh said. "They tied us up and we lost a few wickets in that period. It's something we've been working on, playing spin and trying to rotate the strike and it just didn't work for us."
Victoria were the only side to win batting second this season and Hodge said winning the toss in the final had been a huge advantage. "It's just a difficult game to always keep on top of the run-rate," he said. "You think that eight or nine an over is not difficult but it is. We [in Australia] haven't quite grasped the concept of chasing successfully but over in England it's used as quite a good method."