Twenty20 finalists are winners already
Western Australia and Victoria play off for the KFC Twenty20 title on Sunday but in reality the major award has already been handed to both teams. By reaching the final, the two sides have earned places at the Champions Twenty20 tournament to be held in October, where they will compete against the top teams from the domestic competitions in England, India and South Africa.
That is a huge deal because there is US$5 million up for grabs in the Champions Twenty20, with the winning side set to take home US$2 million. Compare that to the US$1 million that Australia earned for winning the World Cup in the Caribbean and it's easy to see why this year's KFC Twenty20 lost the hit-and-giggle status of previous years.
Victoria's David Hussey said the Bushrangers were desperate to reach the final after winning the previous two competitions and starting this summer undefeated in all Twenty20 matches. "I'd like to say we're not motivated by money but we don't get paid that much, so it's going to be a big bonus for us," Hussey told AAP.
"It's been a massive talking point, all the boys are over the moon about actually making the final. We want to win silverware and then the chance to tour together to another country and play other teams from around the world is pretty exciting for Victoria."
The challenge for Victoria is to overcome the Warriors at the WACA - the same opposition at the same ground ended the Bushrangers' unbeaten run just over a week ago. Tom Moody, the Western Australia coach, has his side sitting around the middle of the Pura Cup and FR Cup tables and is keen to take some momentum out of the KFC Twenty20.
"We haven't really played our best, as of yet, and hopefully on Sunday we can put it together on the big day," Moody said. "Our fielding has been inconsistent and that is certainly an area we can get on top of. At times, whether it be with the ball or with the bat, we have just been a little bit off the boil."
But the statistics indicate Victoria and Western Australia have been the form teams. The top four run scorers in the tournament this summer have come from the two finalists, with Shaun Marsh heading the list followed by Hussey, Luke Pomersbach and Brad Hodge.
Western Australia's Brett Dorey is the danger man with the ball, topping the wicket tally with nine at 16, and Hussey rates a mention on that list as well, with six victims. Hussey's allround Twenty20 talents - he has three half-centuries from five innings and took the catch that catapulted his side into the decider - must have him in the minds of the national selectors with an ODI tri-series approaching. But Hussey could be forgiven if he is already looking even further ahead, to October, and the lure of playing for his state with millions of dollars up for grabs.
Western Australia squad Luke Ronchi (wk), Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Adam Voges (capt), David Bandy, Sean Ervine, Theo Doropoulos, Aaron Heal, Brett Dorey, Danny McLauchlan, Ben Edmondson, Mathew Inness.
Victoria squad Brad Hodge, Aiden Blizzard, Cameron White (capt), David Hussey, Michael Klinger, Rob Quiney, Andrew McDonald, John Hastings, Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Shane Harwood, Clint McKay, Bryce McGain, Dirk Nannes.