SA v Victoria, Matador Cup elimination final, Sydney October 23, 2015

South Australia through to one-day final

South Australia 7 for 250 (Ross 97*, Holland 3-49) beat Victoria 194 (Quiney 71, Stoinis 56, Richardson 3-26) by 56 runs
Scorecard

Alex Ross made a career-best 97 not out © Getty Images

Three weeks ago, the Matador Cup squads changed dramatically with the influx of Test players after the cancellation of Australia's tour of Bangladesh. South Australia, without any players in the national side, were the only team whose squad was unaffected. But the young Redbacks group has defied the odds to see off a much-fancied Victoria and book a place in Sunday's final.

It is quite an achievement for a team featuring only two players - Callum Ferguson and Kane Richardson - who have played for Australia in any format. Their final opponents, New South Wales, have at times in this tournament had 11 international players in their team. But in the elimination final it was the young batsman Alex Ross who set up the victory with his unbeaten 97.

Victoria's line-up was so imposing that Cameron White was made 12th man, but chasing 251 their batting order failed to fire. A direct hit from Jake Lehmann had Aaron Finch run out for a duck in the second over and the No.3 Marcus Stoinis laboured for 102 deliveries for his 56 before he was bowled trying to slog sweep the spinner Tom Andrews.

Rob Quiney had plenty of luck on his way to a half-century. On 47 he was given two reprieves, when Daniel Worrall's delivery clipped the off stump but the bail stayed on, and when he skied a chance that the South Australia captain Travis Head put down at mid-off. Quiney moved on to 71 but when Adam Zampa got rid of him, South Australia were on top.

The required run-rate kept ballooning and Victoria's decision to send Peter Handscomb in ahead of Glenn Maxwell failed, when Handscomb checked his shot and was caught at mid-off from the bowling of Richardson for 6 off 16 balls. Maxwell had to go hard and was caught at deep point off Joe Mennie; Richardson picked up two more wickets as Victoria were dismissed for 194 in the 47th over.

The final margin was 56 runs; Mennie and Ross had compiled an invaluable 64-run stand late in the South Australian innings after the top-order batsmen failed to go on with their starts. Mennie struck 33 at a run a ball and Ross struck 10 fours and one six in his unbeaten 97 off 104 deliveries; he missed the chance for a maiden century but did enough to get his side into the final.

Ross had taken his time and did not get off the mark until his 20th delivery, but he had come in at four down in the 17th over so some caution was advisable. Once he was set he made the most of it; his half-century came from 70 deliveries and he was still there at the end. Tom Cooper (32) and Head (29) had made top-order contributions, but Ross was the key.

Regardless of what happens on Sunday, reaching the final has been a fine achievement for the Redbacks, in the first season under the leadership of captain Head and new coach Jamie Siddons.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

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