Hardie, Agar Boost WA for Shield Final Showdown

Hardie, Agar Boost WA for Shield Final Showdown

Western Australia’s hopes of reaching the Sheffield Shield final have been boosted by the return of allrounder Aaron Hardie, who has been cleared to play in the crucial clash against Victoria in Melbourne from Monday.

Hardie, who has been sidelined with a minor calf injury since facing Tasmania in Hobart in mid-February, has been passed fit and will bolster WA’s lineup for the winner-takes-all match. The winner of the Victoria-WA clash will face Tasmania in the final.

Ashton Agar has also been included in WA’s squad as they cover all bases for the conditions they could face at Junction Oval. If Agar plays, it would be his first first-class match since the SCG Test against South Africa early last year.

Agar has slipped down WA’s red-ball pecking order behind offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli, who has been one of their standout bowlers this season with 37 wickets at 30.21. Agar has also fallen down Australia’s white-ball hierarchy after being ruled out of the ODI World Cup through injury.

Victoria have been boosted by the availability of Scott Boland, who has been released from Australia’s Test squad in New Zealand. Boland has made five appearances for Victoria this season, taking 26 wickets at 16.50.

There remains a slim chance that WA could still host the Shield final in Perth if Tasmania lose to South Australia and don’t gain 0.14 more first-innings bonus points than them.

In the Sheffield Shield, teams get six points for an outright win, one point for a draw, plus 0.01 of a bonus point for every run over 200 they score during the first 100 overs of their first innings and 0.1 of a bonus point for every wicket a team takes during the first 100 overs of their opponent’s first innings.

If Victoria-Western Australia finished in a draw, there is an outside possibility of New South Wales sneaking into the final, although they would need a huge amount of bonus points against Queensland.

Tasmania on Verge of Sheffield Shield Final After Thrilling Victory Over Victoria

Tasmania on Verge of Sheffield Shield Final After Thrilling Victory Over Victoria

Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield title hopes received a major boost as they secured a thrilling 57-run victory over Victoria in Hobart. The win puts them in prime position to host the final for the first time in six years.

Tasmania’s triumph was built on a brilliant second-innings performance, with Beau Webster’s unbeaten 167 proving pivotal. The allrounder’s knock helped the hosts post a formidable 307, setting Victoria a challenging target of 442.

Victoria’s chase got off to a promising start, with Marcus Harris (76) and Peter Handscomb (71) putting on a century partnership. However, Tasmania’s bowlers fought back, with Gabe Bell (4-21) and Iain Carlisle (4-58) leading the charge.

The visitors suffered a crucial collapse on Sunday, losing four wickets for just 25 runs. This proved to be the turning point of the match, as Victoria’s hopes of chasing down the total evaporated.

Bell’s dismissal of Victoria captain Will Sutherland in the first over of the final day set the tone for the morning session. Carlisle then wrapped up the match by removing Peter Siddle, sparking jubilant celebrations among the Tasmanian players.

Webster’s match-winning innings was a testament to his resilience and skill. The 26-year-old has been in impressive form throughout the season and his latest performance has further enhanced his reputation as one of Australia’s most promising young batsmen.

Tasmania’s victory sets up an intriguing final-round clash with South Australia. A win or draw against the Redbacks will secure their place in the decider, while even a defeat could potentially see them through.

Victoria’s hopes of reaching the final are still alive, but they will need to overcome Western Australia in their final match. However, they will be without Will Pucovski, who suffered his 12th concussion after being hit on the helmet on Sunday.

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