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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, but a positive batting 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.

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.

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.

Behrendorff 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



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More New Zealanders watching cricket than ever before

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More people watched women’s cricket than ever before and more cricket was viewed “on the go” during the home summer

More New Zealanders watched cricket than ever before during the first season of New Zealand Cricket’s six-year deal with Spark Sport and TVNZ. As per the findings, more people watched women’s cricket than ever before, more young people watched cricket and more cricket was viewed by fans “on the go” – via a range of mobile devices.

In a press release, NZC said that this was made possible because of the combination of free-to-air and digital subscription, a “ground-breaking arrangement which is taking cricket to not only more Kiwis, but demographics of New Zealanders previously lost to the game”.

The six matches screened live on TVNZ 1 reached 1.86 million viewers, while almost 240,000 Spark Sport viewers watched cricket during the summer. The most viewed T20I during the Australia series attracted 1.24 million viewers. The final ODI between New Zealand Women and Australia Women in Brisbane was viewed by 840,300 fans.

Without going into the numbers, the release said Test matches were also proving to be just as popular as T20Is. The most popular Test was the second one against Pakistan in Christchurch, which New Zealand won by an innings and 176 runs to wrap up the series 2-0. There was also an increase in viewership of both the men’s and women’s Super Smash, New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition.

NZC CEO David White said the results exceeded expectations and he was confident the reach will continue to grow.

“We’re hugely encouraged,” he said. “The production was professional; the look and feel was fresh and appealing – it was everything we were hoping for.

“On top of the increase in viewership, our latest census is also indicating a significant increase in the number of New Zealanders playing cricket – including a 12% increase in the number of female participants, and a nine percent increase in the number of males.

“We’ve also had excellent crowd attendances across the season, and we were well on track for sold-out crowds throughout the Australian men’s tour before COVID took its toll.”

Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, said that getting younger audience on the board via streaming services was the game-changer. “To see these numbers in the first months of our six-year partnership is really encouraging, particularly when you consider sports streaming is still new to many New Zealanders and a sports streaming business like ours takes time to grow,” he said.

“It shows that New Zealand households are embracing streaming, which is consistent with the global experience, in which it is now the norm. We’ve unlocked a new younger audience with streaming given that close to half (47%) of our customer base is aged under 34 years old but are still catering to the traditional fan through TVNZ.”



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Marnus Labuschagne to miss white-ball tour of the West Indies

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Australian batter “deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” says Trevor Hohns

Marnus Labuschagne is missing from the Australia limited-overs squad for a tour of the West Indies starting next month, after it was decided he would play out his current county stint with Glamorgan instead.

A vast preliminary squad for the tour – which may still theoretically be followed by a trip to Bangladesh for more white-ball matches – includes the likes of Matthew Wade, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Swepson, all of whom missed out on Cricket Australia contracts in the annual list.



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – Majority of New Zealand Test contingent arrives in UK

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All contingent members will spend the first three days in hotel room isolation in Southampton

The majority of the New Zealand Test contingent landed in London on Sunday after flying from Auckland via Singapore, for their tour of two Tests against the hosts and the World Test Championship final against India next month. The players and support staff were transferred from the London airport to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, their base for the first two weeks of the tour.

An NZC release stated the squad is “adhering to strict health protocols”, starting with pre-departure vaccinations and Covid-19 tests, in the wake of the pandemic.

“While in England, they will operate in a ‘controlled team environment’ to limit outside contact and risk of transmission,” the release said. “All tour members will complete a daily self-reported health screening as well as undergoing regular covid testing.”



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