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SHEFFIELD SHIELD 2016-17

SA earn final berth but Vics favourites

20 March 2017

James Pattinson has rocketed the Bushrangers to a home Shield final // Getty

Bushrangers' recent form and strong record in the Red Centre puts them in box seat for Shield three-peat

Victoria will head into next weekend's Sheffield Shield final as warm favourites against South Australia, after the Redbacks claimed their spot in the season decider in dramatic fashion.

The identity of Victoria's opponent went down to the very last moments of the regular season as NSW fell six runs short of improbable victory at the WACA late on Sunday against Western Australia.

Quick single: SA sneak in after Blues fall short in WA thriller

Chasing a massive 403 to win, NSW lost their push for victory with 10 balls remaining in Perth's lengthening shadows.

NSW had been in second spot on the ladder for the past few rounds, while the fact that they lost seven wickets in the final session adds further to the Blues' heartbreak.

It was a result that went down well in Adelaide with South Australia's win over Tasmania early on Sunday giving them a tentative hold on second.

NSW were ultimately edged out of third by WA, with Queensland close by in fifth and Tasmania a distant last.

Victoria will host the five-day final from next Sunday in Alice Springs, with no suitable venues available in Melbourne due to the AFL season.

The Bushrangers boast a healthy record in the Red Centre, having won four and drawn one of their five regular-season matches there over the past two years.

Redbacks romp into final with Shield win

The Vics have won the past two finals - including last season against South Australia in Adelaide - and a third successive win would be the first time that feat has been achieved since Queensland in 2002.

Victoria eased into the final with a match to spare, and then secured hosting rights on Saturday with a dominant innings final-round victory over Queensland.

South Australia, in contrast, conceded a 107-run first innings deficit against bottom side Tasmania, only to bowl out the Tigers cheaply on the final morning for a 173-run victory.

Victoria have also won both matches against South Australia this season by five wickets and 124 runs respectively.

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