Warriors win JLT Cup final in style
MITCHELL Marsh's savvy captaincy and smart hitting saw Western Australia win the JLT Cup final in a canter against South Australia as Justin Langer's golden era continued in Hobart.
The Warriors (4/250) hardly raised a sweat in a six-wicket win where undefeated skipper Marsh dominated a 249-run chase with a run-a-ball 80.
Man-of-the-match Marsh crashed his ninth and winning boundary past long-off in the 44th over from Kane Richardson (1/47). It was an emphatic innings that must have warmed the hearts of national selectors.
"I am so happy for the boys and coaching staff. As a captain you take credit but you lean on all the senior boys," said Marsh.
Warriors coach Langer has transformed Western Australia's culture and fortunes since appointed in 2012. Test legend Langer has delivered two one-day titles, two Sheffield Shield final appearances and three Twenty20 titles for Perth Scorchers.
SA skipper Travis Head conceded his side was outplayed but deserved credit for making a fourth domestic final inside three seasons.
"Not enough runs unfortunately, I thought we did a good job with the ball. Western Australia was too good," Head told ABC Radio.
"If you look back three seasons ago were bottom and pretty much a laughing stock. We have given ourselves the chance to win silverware and it is not far off. This team keeps better and better, it's exciting and not far away."
The Redbacks won't have time to lament lost silverware hosting a Sheffield Shield season opener against Steve Smith's Test strength New South Wales Sheffield Shield starting Friday.
Mitchell Marsh couldn't bowl due to a sore shoulder but figured in a decisive 126-run, third-wicket stand with Cameron Bancroft (76).
A short pitched barrage from Richardson eventually unseated Bancroft while Adam Zampa (1/59) bowled Ashton Turner (35) in the 39th over but the damage was done.
Former Australian batsman Shaun Marsh (32) set the tone for his younger brother despite the early departure of Michael Klinger (1).
The contest was effectively over at the half way mark of WA's innings, adding to the gloom of an empty Bellerive hosting a neutral final on a cold Saturday night.
Surely, Cricket Australia must end the snub, particularly to SA fans, who haven't seen their one-day side in the flesh for four years.
The Redbacks sabotaged their innings, failing to capitalise on a series of starts and promising partnerships against a quality attack. All Marsh's bowling changes came off with precision.
In-form opening pair Jake Weatherald (4) and Alex Carey (16) fell inside five overs to returning Australian new-ball pair Nathan Coulter-Nile (2/54) and Jason Behrendorff (2/49).
Callum Ferguson was in rare touch with 37 off 34 balls before slashing Coulter-Nile. Marsh reintroduced Jhye Richardson (2/47) with immediate effect, bowling a set Head for 37 off 40.
Tom Cooper (63) intervened in a 45-run, sixth-wicket stand with Cam Valente (38). However the Redbacks hopes of a competitive total were dashed when Cooper was claimed by Darcy Short's leg-spin.