Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis hit brisk half-centuries before the tail added crucial runs
Western Australia 307 (M Marsh 63, Inglis 63, Whiteman 59, Rainbird 3-58, Bird 3-80)) beat Tasmania 148 (Webster 51, Behrendorff 3-33) by 159 runs
Defending champions Western Australia surged into the Marsh Cup final, where they will face New South Wales, on the back of a 159-run victory against Tasmania which secured them two bonus points to jump ahead of Queensland into second place.
Having been put into bat the home side knew they needed to big total to give them enough of a target to defend to secure at least the single bonus-point win they needed, but a positive display – including brisk half-centuries for Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis – looked like falling short at 8 for 245 until the last two wickets added a crucial 62 runs.
Both teams were still able to reach the final at the start of the day and after the first innings the scenario came down to Western Australia having to restrict Tasmania to 245 or less while the visitors needed to knock off 308 in 40 overs to secure their own bonus point.
Jason Behrendorff, playing his first match for Western Australia since October 2018, produced a starring role with a career-best 35 before taking three top-order wickets in his first spell.
He blew the Tasmania top order away, removing the dangerous Ben McDermott first ball before having Matthew Wade drag on and Caleb Jewell caught behind to leave them 3 for 39 in the seventh over.
With the target quickly becoming out of reach, the only question became if Western Australia could achieve their aim. Jordan Silk was superbly caught by Liam Guthrie running back from short fine-leg and Tasmania aided in their demise with two gifted run outs.
Western Australia had lost early wickets when both Josh Philippe and D’Arcy Short were caught in the slips off Jackson Bird but had little choice other than to continue to push on aggressively.
Marsh sped to a 29-ball half-century while Sam Whiteman played a little more of an anchor role. The innings stumbled as Tom Andrews removed both batsmen and then Cameron Green was caught behind off Tom Rogers.
Inglis, with 60 off 48 balls, and Ashton Turner stablised things with a sixth-wicket stand of 45 in seven overs but when that was followed by the loss of 3 for 14, Western Australia were eight down with 10 overs remaining.
Behrendorff, Guthrie and Lance Morris proceeded to club precious runs – mixed with a little bit of fortune – and in the end it proved more than enough.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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