Intense Victoria maul woeful Wayamba
Victoria 108 for 2 (Hussey 47*, Finch 38*) beat Wayamba 106 (Jayawardene 51, Mubarak 41, Siddle 4-29) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Wayamba's Champions League hopes crashed in Centurion against a top-quality fielding effort from Victoria that was backed by purposeful bowling and batting. Victoria looked like the side more hungry to succeed in a must-win game for both teams and Wayamba paid the price, losing five batsmen for ducks as they spluttered to 106. Things could have been far worse but for a brief period of sublime strokeplay from Jehan Mubarak and a nervy half-century from Mahela Jayawardene. Those two contributed 95, and extras, at six, was the next highest score in Wayamba's listless innings.
David Hussey and Aaron Finch then bustled to the victory target without too many problems to seal an eight-wicket win. Their urgency, however, wasn't enough for Victoria to surpass Warriors' net run-rate, and their semi-final prospects hinged on either a defeat or a comprehensive win for Chennai in the final league game.
Victoria's intensity was epitomised by the second over of the game. James Pattinson struck with his first ball in the tournament, yorking Jeevantha Kulatunga for his second successive duck. Mahela Udawatte, returning to the side after missing the previous game, began with a confident drive on the move that would have eased his nerves in normal circumstances. No such luck today: Clint McKay, fielding well inside the circle at mid-off, scampered to his right and dived full length to stop the shot. Udawatte's disappointment at being denied four quickly gave way to shock as McKay sat up and threw down middle stump at the striker's end, beating the batsman's scramble to the crease.
Pattinson finished off the over with three teasers outside Jehan Mubarak's offstump to complete the maiden. Nine for two in two overs, even before Wayamba knew what had hit them.
Wayamba's two best batsmen then sparked a brief recovery. Mubarak started well, clipping Pattinson twice to the leg-side boundary, before exploiting Peter Siddle's errant lines to pick up fours either side of the wicket. John Hastings' slow bouncers had completely undone Chennai Super Kings in the previous game but Mubarak had no trouble against them, pulling two sixes in his opening over.
Jayawardene was not at his best, and began with a nervous top-edged six over third man while looking to swing Dirk Nannes across the line. There was more good fortune outside the off stump, as he thick-edged Siddle and McKay for boundaries. In completely contrasting fashion, the pair had raised 72 in 8.3 overs and for the first time in the tournament, Wayamba seemed to be coming into their own. Victoria, though, were not yet done.
Andrew McDonald prised Mubarak out with an off-cutter in the 11th over. Kushal Perera was sent back by Hussey's excellence in the field, plucking a screamer that was flying to his right in the covers. Matthew Wade contributed his bit - a nifty stumping to send back Shalika Karunanayake, and a regulation catch when Thisara Perera edged Siddle. Hastings then pulled off the third fielding highlight of the evening, tumbling low at point to catch Isuru Udana inches from the ground. In 3.2 overs, Wayamba had gone from 81 for 2 to 95 for 7, and even a fast-improving Jayawardene could not save them from there. Siddle and Nannes hit the stumps at will to hasten the end, raising visions of McKay's spark of brilliance earlier in the day, as Wayamba's batting fell by the wayside.
Their bowlers did not fare much better. Brad Hodge and Wade did not contribute much, but there was no stopping Hussey, who waded into the bowling with the rampant confidence of a man who had just thumped 22 runs in a Super Over. So dominant was his batting, it allowed Finch a rare night of non-violence as he purred along at a run-a-ball. So inept were Wayamba, despite Finch's not-so-aggressive innings, the game ended with 40 balls to spare.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at Cricinfo