Tasmania have guaranteed their place in this season's WNCL Final, but it's a tight race for the other spot
Tasmania have significantly boosted their chances of hosting this season’s Women’s National Cricket League final with a 52-run win over Western Australia.
Just two days after their shock loss to WA – Tasmania’s first of the season – the Tigers bounced back in style, bowling third-ranked Western Australia out for 171 after posting 8-223 at Bellerive Oval.
The two-time reigning champions now sit eight points clear on top of the WNCL table ahead of Queensland, and with two matches remaining, both against fourth-ranked Victoria later this month, they need to win just one of those games to guarantee they will host the decider.
After electing to bat first, the Tigers recovered from a tricky position at 5-143 thanks to a rearguard effort from lower-order batters Lauren Smith (37) and Tabatha Saville (33no).
WA spinner Amy Edgar (2-29) struck two early blows to remove Lizelle Lee (15) and Nicola Carey (2) cheaply.
Elyse Villani (59) and Heather Graham (56), the latter released from Australian duties for the match, rallied in a 100-run stand, but the latter’s dismissal triggered a mid-innings collapse of 4-9.
It took the 66-run seventh-wicket stand between Smith and Saville to push the Tigers’ total above 200.
Western Australia’s chase started in disastrous fashion as both Chloe Piparo (8) and Mathilda Carmichael (8) were run out.
Maddy Darke looked the key for the visitors in her innings of 73, but after she was trapped on the pads by Hayley Silver-Holmes, the wheels came off for WA as they lost 7-47.
The top two teams advance to the WNCL final and with Tasmania now 11 points clear of third- and fourth-ranked Queensland Victoria, on 28 points apiece, they are certain to feature in their third consecutive decider.
Each win in the WNCL is worth four points, with a bonus point also on offer.
Who Tasmania will meet in the final will be decided by what promises to be a thrilling end to the season.
Second-ranked Queensland, on 31 points, only need to win one of their remaining games against third-ranked Western Australia to lock in their berth – and could even host it, if Tasmania are beaten twice.
WA, on the other hand, need to beat Queensland twice, while fourth-ranked Victoria need to defeat Tasmania twice and hope WA and Queensland split their matches.
South Australia, New South Wales and ACT Meteors are all out of the running.