South Australia take title in thrilling tie
South Australia 285 (Klinger 81, Harris 60, Faulkner 4-75, Bird 3-39) tied with Tasmania 4 for 285 (Bailey 101, Ponting 75*, Cosgrove 69, Lyon 3-86) - South Australia won the Ryobi Cup
South Australia's 25-year drought without a one-day title ended with a thrilling tie that delivered them the Ryobi Cup in the final in Adelaide. In a remarkable last over, Tasmania needed five runs for victory but managed only four as Gary Putland held his nerve to take the key wicket of the centurion George Bailey and then denied the new batsman James Faulkner the runs he required.
Faulkner needed two from the last ball and South Australia knew that as the team that finished on top of the table, a tie was enough for them to take the title. Faulkner couldn't lay bat on ball and although he and his partner Ricky Ponting ran through for a bye, there was no way Tasmania could conjure the extra run to overhaul South Australia's 285.
The South Australia celebrations were fitting for a side that has won so little silverware in the past couple of decades. The coach Darren Berry raced on to the field and embraced Putland, a bowler he mentioned before the match as a key to the side's chances, and the captain Michael Klinger was also in among the hugs after he helped set up the win with 81 and then some calm leadership at the end.
Tasmania were without question the favourites during the last few overs of the game as Bailey, the Tasmania captain, and Ponting, the champion dropped from Australia's ODI side, compiled a 174-run partnership that looked certain to take the Tigers to victory. But the loss of Bailey for 101 from the second ball of the last over, lbw to a low full toss when he tried to paddle sweep Putland, was the key moment.
He had brought up his century in the second-last over with a similar lap sweep off the spin of Aaron O'Brien from his 103rd delivery. Bailey had constructed his innings well, starting off slowly and gradually lifting his tempo, and Ponting had played a similar way after they came together with the score at 3 for 108 in the 23rd over.
Ponting was scratchy early in his innings, miscuing several balls and having the good fortune to see some lob just wide of fielders. He was put down on 36 by the eventual hero for the Redbacks, Putland, who ran around at long-on and failed to clasp a chance from a slog-sweep off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.
Ponting had another life on 58 when Tom Cooper at long-off ran in and couldn't complete a low catch, and Cooper had also put down Bailey on 6. The failures in the field looked like they would cost South Australia the title as the two batsmen stuck around and both cleared the boundary with slog-sweeps off the spinners in the final few overs.
They had come together after Mark Cosgrove departed for 69, one of three top-order wickets for Lyon, who seemed to be keeping his side on track in the early stages after they were bowled out for 285 in the final over of their innings. Klinger had chosen to bat and together with Daniel Harris (60) put on 133 for the opening wicket to give the Redbacks an excellent start.
Klinger finished as comfortably the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 498 at 55.33 but none were more valuable than the 81 he scored in this decider. He drove well through the off side and had good support from Harris, who backed himself and scored at nearly a run a ball, and later in the innings Theo Doropoulos also chipped in with an important cameo of 40 from 34.
Faulkner picked up 4 for 75 and his wickets through the middle overs helped to drag Tasmania back into the match, while Jackson Bird took 3 for 39. But in the end the Tigers needed to find a way to get Ponting on strike in that final over when Faulkner faced the last four balls. Putland didn't let that happen, and South Australia's first one-day title since 1986-87 was complete.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here