Cowan and Birt deliver big win for Tasmania
Tasmania 7 for 286 (Cowan 131*, Birt 87) beat New South Wales 214 (Jaques 95, Haddin 56, Doherty 3-35, Krejza 3-55) by 72 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ed Cowan and Travis Birt continued Tasmania's undefeated run in the Ryobi Cup by setting up a 72-run victory over New South Wales, who were on top at the halfway mark. In the second block, Cowan and Birt combined for a 172-run partnership that drove the Tigers to 286 for 7, before the spin of Jason Krejza and Xavier Doherty sank the Blues.
New South Wales remained in the contest while Phil Jaques was at the crease but when he was trapped lbw by Doherty for 95, it sparked a collapse. The Blues lost their last seven wickets for 30 as Krejza spun the ball sharply and varied his pace to finish with 3 for 55, while Doherty was equally impressive with 3 for 35.
It was a surprising turnaround after Jaques and Brad Haddin (56) earned a point for the Blues by taking them to 1 for 91 after the first block, well ahead of Tasmania's 3 for 76. But the partnership between Cowan and Birt changed everything; Cowan anchored the innings with sensible strokeplay while Birt provided the muscle.
Birt's 87 from 62 balls featured five sixes and it took a classic Brett Lee yorker to halt his push for a hundred. Cowan was not prevented from reaching the mark, although he survived a strange incident on 74 when he was given caught behind off Stuart Clark and reprieved when Haddin said he was unsure if the ball had carried.
Replays showed the catch was clean but the umpires are not permitted to refer such takes to the TV official, and it allowed Cowan to compile his highest one-day score. He finished unbeaten on 131 and saw the ball so well that in the final over he reverse-paddled a fullish Lee delivery to third man for a boundary.
Tasmania, the defending champions, sit on top of the table with three wins from three games, proving themselves equally adept at the new split-innings format. New South Wales have won just one of their three matches.