A catastrophic middle-order collapse from Western Australia has consigned the Warriors to an 85-run loss to Tasmania in a result that rules them out of the race for the Ryobi Cup trophy.
After holding the Tigers to 8-192 from their 50 overs, Western Australia appeared to be in the box seat following a patient opening to their innings.
However, in the space of just 19 deliveries, the Warriors lost five wickets as Tasmania charged towards a bonus-point victory on a particularly blustery afternoon in Burnie.
In the face of a Tigers pace onslaught - one that saw spinners Xavier Doherty and Jason Krejza bowl just one over between them - the Warriors were eventually dismissed for 107 to hand Tasmania a convincing win.
The result means that with just four points to their name, Western Australia cannot overtake Victoria (19 points) or South Australia (18) at the top of the competition table, even if they win their remaining three fixtures.
Former skipper Marcus North (23) was forced to look on from the non-strikers end as James Faulkner (4-32), Evan Gulbis (4-36) and Jackson Bird (2-30) ripped out the Warriors middle order in quick time, reducing the visitors from 1-47 to 6-53 in a matter of minutes and effectively ending the match as a contest.
Earlier, impressive all-rounders Faulkner (66) and Gulbis (57 not out) had managed to rescue a faltering Tigers innings, adding a record 114-run seventh-wicket partnership with a mixture of dour defence, confident stroke play and more than a touch of luck on a pitch that could be described as inconsistent at best.
After losing out-of-form opener Shaun Marsh for nine to be 1-17, the Warriors settled into their chase through a 30-run partnership between Sam Whiteman (18) and North.
But when the young opener was caught pulling a Faulkner bouncer to deep square leg, the contest was flipped completely on its head.
The next over saw Adam Voges clean bowled for a duck and he was soon joined in the dressing room by Travis Birt (four) and Tom Triffitt for a first-ball duck, the former Tigers both losing their wickets to consecutive Faulkner deliveries on either side of a drinks break.
Hilton Cartwright managed to negotiate the hat-trick delivery without trouble, but lasted only two balls longer before gloving an attempted pull shot to Tim Paine from the lively medium pace of Gulbis.
When Gulbis made North his third scalp of the afternoon, the Warriors had slipped to 7-67 and all hope of a miraculous comeback was forgotten.
The tail could offer little resistance as the Tigers wrapped up victory in the 37th over when Michael Beer was bowled by Gulbis for five.
Unpredictable bounce and varying pace meant both sides struggled to find fluency with the bat, the tough conditions seemingly obvious from the time Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff made a lively start during the morning.
Coulter-Nile worked in short spells throughout the Tasmanian innings and despite coming in for some rough treatment from Gulbis late on, finished with workmanlike figures of 3-65 from his 13 overs.
Opening from the other end, rangy left-arm quick Behrendorff (1-35 from 13 overs) maintained the early pressure with a tight spell and may deserve some of the credit for Coulter-Nile's early double breakthrough.
Neither Ben Dunk (two) nor Paine (eight) were able to make any headway in the opening overs, Dunk caught at first slip in the fourth over and Paine bowled by Coulter-Nile off a bottom edge two overs later to leave the Tigers reeling at 2-14.
Behrendorff kept working away in miserly fashion, bowling unchanged through a titanic 10-over opening spell that netted him an impressive 1-26, including the prize scalp of George Bailey for just seven.
By the time Alex Doolan (14) was skittled by the recalled Michael Hogan (4-37), Tasmania had collapsed to be 4-37 after 15 overs - although there was worse to come.
Debutant Jordan Silk went for one and Jon Wells (14) also fell to Hogan, although the latter could possibly blame the surface, having seen his stumps shattered by a delivery that stayed very low from just short of a length.
Hogan was particularly effective in manipulating the up-and-down nature of the pitch to his advantage and turned in an impressive performance that will have his Hobart Hurricanes connections licking their lips ahead of the Big Bash League which starts later this month.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 01 December, 2012 5:37PM AEST