Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tasmania Completes Formal;ities against Victoria to Clinch Title

Tasmania sneaked to a dramatic one-day domestic final win over Victoria, prevailing by one wicket in the final over at Bellerive Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Travis Birt was the hero for the Tigers with a crucial 38 not out as Tasmania's batting line-up choked in their chase of a revised target of 131 off 31 overs after Victoria were bowled out for a paltry 158 earlier in the day.

The second innings was hampered by periods of rain and the elements looked to have played into the visitors hands when they took a thrilling 4 for 19 in the dying stages of the match.

But the Tigers held on thanks mainly to the patience of Victorian-born Birt who combined for a 33-run partnership with Mark Divin (18) who was the first of leg spinner Bryce McGain's three wickets in a inspirational late spell.

McGain, who finished with 3 for 11 off 5 overs, gave the Victorians a sniff of victory after dismissing Divin and Xavier Doherty in the same over to have the Tigers feeling the pinch at 7 for 109.

The hosts recovered to be only 4 runs from victory before Brett Geeves departed for 9 quickly followed by Brendan Drew who edged McGain behind for a duck in the penultimate over.

With Tasmania requiring 3 runs in the last over with only one wicket in hand Birt's composure shone through as he late cut Andrew McDonald to the boundary to secure Tasmania's third one-day domestic title.

Earlier, Tasmania's attack ripped through the usually dependable Bushrangers sheet with man-of-the-match Geeves leading a wicket-taking trio including himself, Doherty (4 for 18) and Ben Hilfenhaus (3 for 32).

Geeves claimed the important wickets of opener Rob Quiney (21), Brad Hodge (9) and skipper Cameron White for a golden duck to finish with figures of 3 for 28 off his eight overs.

Middle order linchpin David Hussey added some credibility for the Victorians with a much-needed 50 alongside McDonald who contributed a stodgy 35.

The Tigers win breaks the competition's home final hoodoo, with no side being able to claim the title in front of their home fans for the last seven seasons while Victoria lost their second final in consecutive years.

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