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Simon Katich says leading New South Wales to their third Pura Cup title in six years, in a season when they were undefeated, has been his proudest achievement in cricket. Katich was named Man of the Match for making 86 and 92 in the final as the Blues beat Victoria by 258 runs.
It completed a remarkable summer for Katich, who during the match broke the all-time record for most runs in a Pura Cup season and finished with 1506 at 94.12. He said the individual success meant nothing compared to the thrill of his side being crowned the best in Australia.
"It's been probably my proudest moment in cricket," Katich said. "Captaining the team all year and seeing what the boys have been able to achieve, not only with all the Australian players back but also throughout the year with a lot of our young guys playing such a big part of it."
Although several of the less experienced Blues made way for the returning international stars for the decider, Phillip Hughes, who is 19, kept his spot and made 116 to finish the season as the team's second-highest run scorer with 559 at 62.11. Katich said the state's depth of talent meant the future looked bright for New South Wales.
"It was a shame that a few of the boys missed out on being part of it in the final but the Australian guys were fantastic," he said. "To see guys like Mark Cameron, Doug Bollinger, young Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Pete Forrest, Moises Henriques - all these young guys come into it and do so well for us at various stages of the season, that to me was rewarding because some of them are under 20 and they're just starting out."
The Blues completed the victory ten minutes before the scheduled tea break on day five, however the result was effectively known since they batted the Bushrangers out of the game on the third day. Cameron White, the Victoria captain, said his team needed a better performance in their first innings when they fell from 3 for 166 to be all out for 216.
"From that position we needed to get in front," White said. "The big lead allowed them to come out and play with a lot of freedom and get away from us the next morning. It's obviously disappointing and it's a bit of a hollow feeling to play when you know you almost can't win."