Western Warriors move to striking distance of top two

The Western Warriors are within striking distance of the Sheffield Shield top two after the state today completed a season sweep of Tasmania across all forms of the game.

testerThe four-wicket win over the Tigers puts the third-placed Warriors within one victory of Shield table leaders New South Wales and South Australia and was made all the more important given WA’s next fixture against the Blues at the WACA Ground starting Thursday.

The victory came after Tasmania was the only team WA defeated at the Ryobi One Day Cup, leading into the Warriors’ triumph in the Shield fixture in Hobart in December, before the Scorchers recorded two wins over the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League.

The steady hands of seasoned campaigners Marcus North (79), who was named Man of the Match, and Adam Voges (75) laid the foundations for WA’s win with a 135-run partnership, before the next generation finished the job.

The final day opened with the match delicately poised, after WA were yesterday set 256 for victory and lost two wickets by stumps to be 2-27.

North resumed with 21-year-old Marcus Harris and the pair set about chasing down the total, with the younger of the batsmen in particular not afraid to play some big shots.

Harris had taken a fancy to Sam Rainbird and was rattling off boundaries until the bowler got his man for 18, with the ball sneaking through bat and pad to take out the stumps for WA’s first loss of the day.

The crucial partnership was always going to be the cool, experienced heads of North and Voges and the pair did not disappoint.

1800x362Voges headed to the crease in the 24th over with his side 3-53 and the captain immediately helped notch the team 50 with a four off Rainbird.

It was just the beginning, as the former and current skipper combined to pile on 90 runs by the lunch break to be 3-140 and carried on after to bring the deficit into double figures.

Momentum was halted with the dismissal of North for a well-crafted 79 as an intensely close field had the batsman drive straight to George Bailey at short midwicket off Rainbird, but not before some serious damage had been inflicted with a 135-run partnership.

North’s tally had him cement his place as the competition’s leading run scorer with 759 runs at an imposing average of 94.87, while establishing a firm foundation for the team’s run-chase.

Voges was closing in on what would have been his 13th ton for WA and the frustration showed when he had to settle for 75 after attempting to loft Xavier Doherty over long on, but only found Rainbird in the deep.

The dismissal left the task of victory up to the younger generation of Warriors, with Mitch Marsh (18) and Ashton Turner adding 17 before the former’s dismissal with a thick edge to slips, which brought the in-form and confident Sam Whiteman to the crease.

The pair revelled in the moment, playing patient cricket when they needed to and the shots when they were there.

The winning runs came as Doherty entered the attack, with Whiteman’s eyes lighting up.

A cut to deep cover point had the batsmen run four runs, before a two and four in identical shots glanced to fine leg off the bat of Whiteman secured the outright victory.

The chase was made possible by the efforts of Michael Hogan with the ball, after he ended with match figures of 6-115.

The second-innings performances of Mitch Marsh (4-35) and Ryan Duffield (3-67) were crucial, given a minor hamstring injury sustained by Nathan Coulter-Nile on Day 2.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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