A brilliant innings from Australia batter Beth Mooney has guided Queensland to a 29-run win against Victoria and a place in this year’s Women's National Cricket League final.
The Fire will now meet either the NSW Breakers, the ACT Meteors or the Spirit for the WNCL title on December 3, their first appearance in the domestic 50-over final since the 2005-06 season, when they finished runners-up.
Mooney's 146 came from just 144 balls, continuing a run of good form for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars batter, who was named player of the match in last weekend's Governor-General's game.
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The Commonwealth Bank VicSpirit's win over NSW on Friday and the Konica Minolta Fire's loss to the ACT meant the equation was simple heading into the match at Casey Fields in Melbourne – win and advance, lose and the season could be over.
Batting first, the Fire amassed 7-251 from their fifty overs, with Mooney receiving solid support from Jemma Barsby (44 off 79).
Victoria made a promising start in reply, as openers Sophie Molineux and Sarah Elliot shared an 87-run stand, but without the batting prowess of captain Meg Lanning – away on international duties – they found themselves restricted to 8-222 at the end of their innings.
Barsby was a pick of the bowlers, taking 2-37 from her 10 overs.
Mooney had been released from the Southern Stars squad on Thursday when it was decided she would miss the first ODI against South Africa, and the 22-year-old will now link up with her national teammates in Canberra ahead of their second ODI on Sunday afternoon.
The Lendlease Breakers and Abode Hotels Meteors meet in Melbourne tomorrow. Should the Breakers in, they will advance, while the Meteors need to claim both a win and a bonus point to advance. Should they only win by a small margin, Victoria advance.
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In Saturday's other game, the Breezair SA Scorpions claimed a 52-run win in their final game against the Alcohol.Think Again Western Fury.
A century from former England captain Charlotte Edwards and 71 from Tahlia McGrath helped the Scorpions to 6-267, while an unbeaten half-century from Taneale Peschel wasn't enough for the Fury.
South Australia, the defending WNCL champions, headed into the match already knowing they would not have a chance to repeat last season's performance, having been ruled out of the running after a narrow defeat to NSW in the opening round and a subsequent loss to the ACT and tie with Queensland.
Western Fury will be in action again on Sunday when they take on Tasmania at Adelaide's Woodville Oval.
While both teams were already out of the finals race heading into the final round, both will be eager to avoid finishing on the bottom of the table.