Sparkling individual performances from Liam Davis and Nathan Coulter-Nile helped steer Western Australia to a hard-fought 25-run Ryobi Cup victory over Victoria at the WACA on Friday.
Opener Davis underpinned the home side's total of 9-248 with a fine innings of 93, while all-rounder Coulter-Nile struck 42 not out before returning impressive figures of 4-65 and affecting two run-outs for good measure.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the hosts overcame the loss of Shaun Marsh in the third over to reach 56 before Alex Keath's stunning one-handed catch at square leg off the bowling of John Hastings ended Sam Whiteman's innings on 18.
At 2-56, the Bushrangers had the bit between their teeth, but Marcus North and Davis duly steadied the home ship, putting on 80 runs for the third wicket until Will Sheridan tempted the WA skipper into lofting a drive to Darren Pattinson at mid-on.
Undaunted, Davis continued to score freely and with Mitch Marsh providing solid support at the other end, looked poised to become WA's first centurion of the summer.
Seven runs short of that landmark, however, the diminutive opener became Hastings' second victim of the innings as he feathered an attempted cut through to 'keeper Peter Handscomb.
The Warriors then suffered a mini collapse, with luckless debutant Will Bosisto run out for a duck and Tim Triffitt trapped lbw by Jon Holland and only when Coulter-Nile joined Marsh at the crease did the hosts get their innings back on track.
Indeed, when Marsh was dismissed for 24 with four overs remaining, the highly-rated young all-rounder responded by upping the tempo, crashing 14 runs off one Pattinson over and eventually finishing unbeaten on 42 as the Warriors posted a defendable if less than formidable total of 9-248.
The hosts certainly went about that defence with plenty of vigour, Mitchell Johnson claiming the wicket of Rob Quiney during a hostile opening spell and Coulter-Nile carrying on where he'd left off with the bat as he sent Aaron Finch packing with the second ball of his first over.
Victoria looked in trouble at 2-29 after 10 overs and although Chris Rogers appeared largely untroubled against his former state, the visitors struggled to find the boundary in the face of some naggingly accurate WA bowling.
The reintroduction of Johnson paid immediate dividends as he took just two balls to dismiss the dangerous Rogers and WA tightened their stranglehold in the 31st over when Coulter-Nile snared Peter Handscomb to reduce the Bushrangers to 4-108.
While skipper Andrew McDonald was still at the crease, Victoria remained a chance, but as the run-rate climbed above eight per over he was forced to chance his arm and eventually holed out to Shaun Marsh on the long-on boundary for 31.
Keath quickly reached 12 before needlessly running himself out in the 44th over with his side still 68 runs short of victory, Hill (40) also fell to Coulter-Nile's unerring arm in the next over and although Will Sheridan (25) struck four defiant late sixes to raise the prospect of an unlikely comeback, WA duly wrapped things up with eight balls to spare.
First Posted 28 September, 2012 9:35PM AEDT