Redbacks blow final berth
New South Wales 8 for 266 (Haddin 125) beat South Australia 248 (Botha 53, Ludeman 52, Abbott 3-48, Sandhu 3-55) by 18 runs
South Australia completed a spectacular blow-out in the finishing straight of the domestic limited overs competition, losing by 18 runs against New South Wales at Adelaide Oval to drop out of the tournament after leading its standings with three matches to go.
The Blues were out of contention for the final the moment SA ensured a bonus point could not be won, but the hosts' third consecutive defeat was galling given they had only required one win from three matches to secure a place in the final against Victoria.
The Bushrangers now await the identity of their opponent, which will be either Queensland or Western Australia, who face Tasmania in the final qualifying match.
Brad Haddin was primarily responsible for the NSW win, cracking a crisp century speckled with 17 boundaries and a pair of sixes in a memorable counter-attack after his side had slipped to 4 for 77 in the face of accurate early SA bowling.
Peter Nevill provided support, while Sean Abbott put the finishing touches on the innings with a busy contribution in the closing overs.
SA promoted Dan Christian in an effort to make a rapid start, but he made only 12 before falling to Doug Bollinger, and while Michael Klinger built the total steadily in the company of the debutant Alex Carey, the Redbacks' little-tested middle order always looked vulnerable.
They were to prove exactly that, the tally sliding from 1 for 87 to 6 for 139 as Abbott and Bollinger gained reverse swing with the old ball. Johan Botha and Tim Ludeman pushed SA back into a position from which victory was possible, but the earlier losses meant only one wicket was needed for the Blues to crash through.
Abbott claimed it when Botha sliced to the man posted on the point boundary, and Gurinder Sandhu cleaned up the tail with some skill to complete SA's slide out of contention.