NSW v WA, Sheffield Shield final, Canberra, 4th day March 24, 2014

NSW on brink of title after rainy day

ESPNcricinfo staff

New South Wales 447 and 3 for 59 lead Western Australia 180 by 326 runs

New South Wales are effectively one day away from lifting the Sheffield Shield after most of the fourth day of the final against Western Australia was washed out in Canberra.

The Warriors began the day needing something miraculous from their bowlers to skittle the Blues cheaply and set up a chase. What they got instead was 1 for 13 from a dour 13.4 overs before the rain set in for the rest of the day.

The only wicket to fall was that of Ben Rohrer, who edged behind off Jason Behrendorff for 27, and when the wet weather arrived New South Wales were 3 for 59 with captain Steven Smith on 31 and Kurtis Patterson yet to score.

Their lead had moved along to 326 and as the hosts of the final, they had no need to push for a victory; a draw would be enough for them to claim the title.

Even the most optimistic Western Australia fan would struggle to work out a way for them to win the match from this position. They would need to run through the remaining seven New South Wales wickets in the first hour of the final day to even attempt a chase.

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  • Andrew on March 25, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    IMO - I think the way the Shield Final is set up is great. We have plenty of attacking cricket in the Shield through out the year, the team that finishes first has essentially one hand on the trophy & it is up to the visitors to yank it off them. WA tried hard but weren't good enuff. == == == Now that Smith has maintained a high standard with his batting for some time - could he please do the same with his bowling. I think it is an incredible waste that Smith hasn't done more with his bowling. He is better than what a lot of people think.

  • Kevin on March 25, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx Hmm, just thinking ahead a few years on.

    I know you were talking specifically about Smith. I have been thinking about the consequences of a few years on with NSW winning the Shield.

    They have won the Shield with a rag tag bunch of blokes, almost a 2nd 11.

    I'm just trying to get my head around where the Australian cricket standard - without the top echelon players - is at.

    When you consider NSW has lost players such as Hughes, Khawaja, Forrest, Zampa, Christian, Cowan, Cockley and Bird in recent years. Add other players such as Jordan Silk and John Hastings that is nearly another team and that is the players I can think of, there may be more.

    Warner, Watson, Clarke, Starc, Bollinger, Cummins, Haddin missing through rep or injury, there may be others.

    Of those that played in the final, Hazlewood, Smith, Lyon and Henriques were missing from the side due to injury or rep for most of the season.

    Is it NSW is so very strong or the other states are average?

  • Nicholas on March 25, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    Dear 'Leegend'... "Who watches club rugby..." Last Saturday, Saracens v Harlequins ordinary league match; played at Wembley; crowd: 82,000... Yes, 82,000!

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    @Moppa, there might be good reasons for this game to be slow, but NSW were scoring at barely 3 an over from the start, even before their mini-collapse. It's a shame, because the Australian team does me proud as almost the only test team with positive attitude.

    But I don't blame NSW -- every Test is a thing on its own, but the Shield final carries the whole year's work with it. I blame the rules that gives the home side the Shield if there is draw. There's lots of alternatives: even if they re-assigned day 5 as a 20-20 playoff that would be an improvement. (Though I can think of better ideas).

  • Peter on March 24, 2014, 17:50 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx. Interesting point. I have been watching Smith for years & commented on his improved technique a couple of years ago & to watch out for him. He has certainly put in the hard work & has got rid of that ugly front footed swats he used to have for T20. I would suggest he will ease into the important #4 spot in time & that specialists will stand up for the #3 spot. Steve Waugh batted #3 for NSW & apart from one series vs. West Indies didn't bat there in tests. All round a really solid effort from the Blues who were missing a swag of stars, I'll comment on that tomorrow.

  • James on March 24, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    Hmm, just thinking ahead a few years on. Do you blokes reckon that Smith could bat 3? He's got an idiosyncratic technique but he bats up the oder in the shield and has shown good skill against spin in India and pace in England, SA and AUS so he is an all round player. Sounds crazy at the moment, but maybe 1 or 2 years from now it might not be, it would solve a big problem if it does work.

  • Guy on March 24, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    Agree with @leegend, I was there on Sunday and the crowd was about 2500, which is quite respectable. @Davidgold, the pitch has been hard to score on, this is evidenced by WA's slow scoring rate, who are the team that have to force a result in this match. NSW got themselves into trouble and then dug their way out of it - I don't think one can really criticise them for that. Of course, there have been plenty of go-slow bat-a-thon's in Shield finals, in no small part due to the incentives created by the draw-to-win rule for the host. Is there room in the modern cricket calendar for a timeless Shield final? If so, I would suggest compulsory declaration after 160 overs in the first two innings of the match as a check on the 'go-slow' approach.

  • Matthew on March 24, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    I was there on Saturday along with over 3000 others, and it was a really good day's play, especially the dramatic last hour. Disappointing that NSW didn't push on more quickly today, but they deserve to win. Unfortunately it looks like the weather will have the final say as more rain is forecast for tomorrow.

  • Scott on March 24, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    NSW not playing to win? Maybe. And yet, at the start of the day's play (if you ignored the weather) a NSW win would have been the most likely result. In recent years South Africa and England have both proven there is more than one way to win a game of cricket. There might be more entertaining ways to win, but you play what you have in front of you, especially in a final.

  • Lee on March 24, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    The crowd numbers in Canberra have been higher than expected. ABC commentary said catering was expecting 500 people on day 1 but instead got 1700 and they got swamped. I think that having the final not anywhere but the SCG was a good call regardless of the baseball being on.

    Cricket's not the only sport where people don't watch lower levels. Who watches tennis qualifiers or club rugby?

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