Klinger and Behrendorff take WA to title
Western Australia 6 for 255 (Klinger 96) beat New South Wales 191 (Watson 83, Behrendorff 5-27) by 64 runs
Western Australia have ended a nine-year drought in the domestic one-day competition with a crushing 64-run victory over New South Wales.
The Warriors outclassed the Blues in all departments. Michael Klinger led the way with a commanding innings, falling just four runs short of a century, while Jason Behrendorff claimed a five-wicket haul as WA's pace attack killed off NSW's chase in just 44.1 overs.
Only Shane Watson provided any serious threat as NSW struggled to overcome the loss of early wickets.
It was the perfect start to Klinger's first season with the Warriors under Justin Langer. The former South Australia captain was toiling as a part-time first-class player in Victoria when WA last lifted a one-day trophy at the end of the 2003-04 season. Now, after enjoying several successful years with the Redbacks, the 34-year-old's transfer to the west has brought immediate rewards.
After winning the toss, WA's innings began as brightly and breezily as the conditions at the SCG.
It was NSW's first match of the season at their spiritual home but the dusty-looking pitch offered little assistance to their five-pronged pace attack, and with Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe on international duties, only the part-time spin of Nic Maddinson offered any variation.
Warriors' opener Marcus Harris looked both comfortable and threatening as he cantered to 33 but the left-hander chased Gurinder Sandhu's full and wide opening delivery and top edged to Watson at first slip.
That combination of caught and bowled could have been repeated on at least two more occasions but for the slowness of the pitch, Sandhu watching the ball clip the edge of Simmons' bat only for it to fall frustratingly short of Watson.
While the departure of Harris eased the run rate somewhat, Simmons and Klinger built solidly, adding 83 before Simmons departed in typically aggressive fashion, trying to hoist Pat Cummins over the square-leg boundary.
Klinger's partnership with Adam Voges was almost as fruitful and when Voges was beaten by a Sean Abbott ball, a good length delivery which nipped back and clattered into middle and leg, the Warriors had cruised to 204 for 3.
Doug Bollinger's two wickets in three balls put the brakes on WA's scoring before Ashton Turner chimed in with a lusty cameo which helped lift the total to 255.
NSW's chase began in dismal fashion, the hosts losing two wickets in the first four overs.
Maddinson had already suffered a painful blow while fielding, colliding awkwardly with Kurtis Patterson in the outfield as the pair unsuccessfully attempted to prevent a boundary.
Maddinson limped to the dressing room and didn't return to the field but recovered sufficiently to open the batting. Four balls later he was trudging to the Members' Stand once more, his stumps shattered by Behrendorff.
The Warriors had injury worries of their own. Joel Paris, who entered the final as WA's equal highest wicket taker for the tournament, exited early after suffering a quad strain during his second over.
Captain Adam Voges brought himself into the attack and struck with his first delivery, an arm ball that skidded on, removing Phil Neville and leaving the Blues in disarray at 10 for 2.
Watson's start was streaky and he was yet to score when a leading edge off the dangerous Behrendorff popped up only to drop a fraction short of Turner at backward point.
From that moment, Watson, playing solely as a batsman as he continues his recovery from a calf injury, set about giving his state a fighting chance of reaching the target, ably supported by Patterson.
Twice Watson sent the ball sailing into the Ladies Stand, and once over the long-on boundary, and the familiar sight of his powerful front-foot cover drives was encouraging.
At the same time as his Australian team-mates were struggling to combat spin on a dusty Dubai pitch, Watson made the most of what spin was on offer in Sydney, singling out Ashton Agar and Adam Voges for special treatment.
But if there was a familiarity about Watson's style, there was also a frustrating sense of deja-vu when he fell, to the faintest of feathered edges off Agar, just as he was closing in on a century.
NSW's chances all but evaporated with his departure, as WA's fast men ripped through the middle-and lower-order.
The visitors were also sharp in the field, and Nathan Coulter-Nile took two outstanding catches to remove Ben Rohrer and Sandhu, both off the bowling of Behrendorff.
Fittingly, it was Behrendorff who hammered the final nail as he had Sandhu caught by Coulter-Nile, sparking joyous celebrations for the men from the west.