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
More New Zealanders watching cricket than ever before
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.”
Marnus Labuschagne to miss white-ball tour of the West Indies
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.
“Anyone who knows Marnus understands he would give absolutely anything to play for Australia and he is deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” selection chairman Trevor Hohns said. “We worked through numerous options in conversations with Marnus to find a workable solution but ultimately came to the conclusion it was more practical for him to remain in the UK.
“Had we not been in the middle of a global pandemic, Marnus would be on this tour as a well-established member and important part of the one-day side. It’s an unfortunate circumstance of the many challenges the world is facing right now. As it stands, Marnus has the opportunity to continue in county cricket and T20 games with Glamorgan as we head into the World Cup and home summer.”
Daniel Sams, who was part of Australia’s squad for the recent limited-overs tour of New Zealand but then endured an unhappy time during the IPL where he tested positive for Covid-19 before the tournament, which was then cut short by India’s spate of outbreaks, asked not to be considered for the trip because of personal and mental health reasons.
Ben Oliver, the head of national teams, said that while discussions about the Bangladesh phase of the tour were continuing, the squad had been cleared to receive vaccinations before their departure in line with those being afforded to Australia’s Olympic team scheduled to compete in Tokyo later this year.
“It was great to see our Olympians receiving their vaccination shots ahead of the Tokyo Games and we are working through logistics for the Australian men’s team with the relevant agencies.” Oliver said. “We will comply with all government directives in relation to vaccinations and international travel.
“The Australian men’s team has completed successful tours of England and New Zealand during the pandemic, including the accompanying quarantine periods, and we are hopeful of being able to travel to Bangladesh at the completion of the West Indies tour. Those discussions are progressing well and updates will be provided in due course.”
Australia are scheduled to play five T20Is in St Lucia and three ODIs in Barbados between July 9 and July 24, their tour sandwiched between tours of the Caribbean by South Africa and Pakistan.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
Eng vs NZ 2021 – Majority of New Zealand Test contingent arrives in UK
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.”
All contingent members will spend the first three days in hotel room isolation before “mini training groups” of six can be formed from days four to six, pending negative Covid-test results.
Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Ross Taylor and Neil Wagner will depart Auckland on Monday afternoon New Zealand time to join the squad in Southampton.
A few players and support staff members who participated in the truncated IPL in India had earlier flown to the Maldives and will arrive in the UK on Monday, local time. This group includes captain Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner, team physio Tommy Simsek and trainer Chris Donaldson.
Batter Will Young, who scored back-to-back centuries for Durham in his month-long County Championship stint recently, will also join the squad on Monday and undergo isolation at the Ageas Bowl before he can start training with his team-mates.
The squad members are scheduled to play a three-day intra-squad game from May 26 to 28 at the Ageas Bowl, where six local bowlers have also isolated in advance to help make up the sides.
Fast bowler Trent Boult is still in New Zealand and will fly to Mount Maunganui to see his family before “a plan is made around his departure to the UK”. He could miss both the Tests against England but will be available for the WTC final.
The Test series against England will begin on June 2 at Lord’s followed by the second game starting June 10 at Edgbaston. New Zealand will then take on India in the WTC final from June 18 in Southampton.
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