Western Australia’s thrilling rain-affected win over the Cricket Australia XI on Monday propelled them into third place in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup and sets up an intriguing conclusion to the group stage of the tournament.
Only Tasmania and the Cricket Australia XI are out of the running as the remaining five sides all look to push their cases for a top-three finish.
The first-placed team progresses straight to the final of the tournament, to be held at North Sydney Oval on Sunday (October 23).
UPDATED: Matador Cup finals scenarios
Their challenger will be decided two days earlier at Drummoyne Oval, with the second and third ranked teams to play off in an elimination final for the right to play in the decider.
Should two or more teams finish level on points, they’ll be separated by number of wins first and then net-run-rate.
With three matches to go in the tournament, including today’s top-of-the-table Victoria-Queensland blockbuster (from 10.30am on Gem and cricket.com.au), we’ve detailed what each of the five contenders need to go to keep their tournament hopes alive.
My FootDr Queensland Bulls
The Bulls made the early running in this year’s Matador Cup, recording wins in their first four matches before a hiccup against NSW saw them defeated by four wickets on Friday.
Queensland nonetheless remain top-of-the-table and can secure passage directly to the final with a win over the second-placed Bushrangers on Tuesday.
A loss still shouldn’t see them drop any lower than third, provided neither South Australia or Western Australia achieve mammoth double bonus-point victories in their respective final games.
Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers
Despite losing to the Warriors and the Blues, Victoria sit in second spot thanks to picking up a swag of bonus points in their three victories.
The Bushrangers, who will be bolstered by Australia one-day international trio John Hastings, Chris Tremain and Scott Boland for their final game against the Bulls, could leapfrog Queensland and seal a final berth with a victory in today’s encounter.
A loss isn’t necessarily season-ending for Victoria – their fate would then be decided by Wednesday’s matches – NSW v WA and SA v Tasmania.
The Bushrangers’ excellent net run-rate of 1.66 (the next highest is WA’s 0.325) could prove telling.
Alcohol.Think Again Western Warriors
Warriors allrounder Ashton Agar just about singlehandedly kept his side alive in Matador Cup, with his brutal 19-ball 47 helping WA reel in the CA XI’s 147 in 13.4 overs on the DLS method in the rain-shortened match.
The victory puts them in third and a win over the Blues on Tuesday should seal an elimination final berth, while they could pinch first spot with a bonus or double-bonus point win and a tie or washout – or even a Vics win – in the Bulls-Bushrangers’ clash.
New South Wales Blues
WA’s win knocked the Blues out of the top three after they’d notched a vital win over Victoria on Sunday.
The top position appears out of reach for NSW (unless they record a huge double bonus-point win and Bulls-Bushrangers game is washed out or tied) but victory over the Warriors in their final group-stage match should secure an elimination final spot. The only way they could miss out with a win today would be if the Redbacks thrashed Tasmania. Speaking of…
West End Redbacks
The Redbacks’ chances of sneaking into the elimination final remain alive but WA’s win over the CA XI has certainly made it difficult for Jamie Siddons’ men.
Currently in fifth spot, South Australia would need to achieve at least one bonus point in their final match against Tasmania and hope results in the Queensland-Victoria and NSW-WA games go their way.
But a poor net-run-rate – only the winless CA XI has a lower NRR – will make it even more difficult for SA to progress.