Cricket

Ferguson heroics in vein as WA scrape into Marsh Cup final in thriller

Western Australia 252 (Green 86, W Agar 5-40) beat South Australia 246 (Ferguson 127, Coulter-Nile 5-48) by seven runs

Callum Ferguson nearly pulled off a miracle, Nathan Coulter-Nile reminded the Australian selectors of his worth, Cameron Green continued his stunning form, and Ashton Agar was left bloodied by his brother Wes as Western Australia won a nail-biter against South Australia in a thrilling game in Adelaide to qualify for the Marsh Cup final.

Chasing 252 to win, Ferguson almost pulled off the impossible for the Redbacks, dragging his side back from 7 for 126, to get within seven runs of victory with a stunning 127 from 125 balls. South Australia were 9 for 190 when Ferguson was joined by Daniel Worrall and he farmed the strike bowling expertly to make his 12th List A century and reduced the equation to 23 from 12. He then smashed two sixes and a four off Jhye Richardson to cut it to 7 from 7, before Richardson trapped him with a brilliant yorker to put Western Australia into the final.

Coulter-Nile had run through South Australia’s top order taking his second List A five-wicket haul and had 5 for 18 at one stage as he ripped through Jake Weatherald, Jake Lehmann and Alex Carey with express pace in the powerplay. He returned after a steadying partnership between Ferguson and Cam Valente to take out two more in quick succession and remind the Australian selectors he is still a high-class white-ball bowler.

The selectors would have also kept a close eye on Green, who made his highest List A score of 86 from just 78 balls to steer Western Australia from a perilous position of 5 for 73 to post 252. Following on from his stunning performance against Queensland in the Shield, Green again showed his maturity and his class controlling the second half of the innings. He shared an 85-run stand with Hilton Cartwright who contributed 43, and a 54-run partnership with Richardson. He fell trying to clear the rope for the fourth time.

Among the chaos, the most bizarre storyline of the day belonged to the Agar brothers Ashton and Wes playing on opposing teams. Wes Agar got early bragging rights over his brother, clean bowling him for 5 as part of his brilliant five-wicket haul. He claimed 5 for 40 in 10 overs to continue his excellent start to the summer in both formats.

More dramatically, however, while batting late in the chase Wes flat-batted a ball towards Ashton at mid-on where he got his feet in a tangle and the ball appeared swerve as he slipped and it hit him flush between the eyes. He had blood streaming down his face as his younger brother rushed to his side. Ashton was able to walk off the field unassisted but did not field for the last 10 overs of the match.

Western Australia have now qualified for the final. South Australia’s hopes are all but dashed. The Redbacks now need to win their last match against Victoria on Tuesday by a large margin and hope Queensland are beaten by a big margin by Tasmania.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1206814.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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