Tasmania will host the 2023-24 WNCL final after downing Victoria by seven wickets in Melbourne
Tasmania’s hopes of a third-straight Women’s National Cricket League title have been strengthened, with the Tigers locking in a home final with a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Victoria.
Heather Graham, freshly returned from Australia’s ODI squad after missing Test selection, struck a superb 105 from 93 deliveries to guide Tasmania to their target of 256 at Junction Oval, sharing in a match-winning 169-run partnership with Nicola Carey, who finished unbeaten on 75.
The win locked in top spot for Tasmania, ensuring they will host the final at Blundstone Arena on February 24.
It also ended Victoria’s hopes of making the decider, with the fourth-ranked Vics now unable to leapfrog Queensland and Western Australia to take second spot.
WA and the Fire will meet in back-to-back games at AB Field this week to determine who will meet Tasmania in the final.
It was a day to remember for Graham, who had earlier produced an unplayable delivery to knock over former Australia captain Meg Lanning for four.
It left the Vics in early trouble at 2-49, before half-centuries to Tess Flintoff (60 off 92) and Georgia Prestwidge (56no from 46) helped the hosts recover to 7-255.
Their hopes of defending that total and keeping their season alive were boosted when Prestwidge had Tigers captain Elyse Villani (14) caught behind and Ella Hayward knocked over Lizelle Lee (27), leaving Tasmania 2-46.
But Graham and Carey’s stand steered Tasmania to safety and while Graham was dismissed with 46 runs still required, Naomi Stalenberg (27no) joined Carey to ice victory.
The teams will meet again at the same venue on Wednesday.