We are half way through Round 10 of the Sheffield Shield and, despite some of the bizarre play we have seen already, the identity of the combatants for the final are now much clearer.
In Canberra, the chances of the Western Australians were blown away in just 8 overs. At 5-15 there was no recovery possible against the pace of the New South Welshmen and they were bundle out for 82. As matters stand at the start of day 3, Western Australia lead by 34 runs with 5 second innings wickets in hand. New South Wales are the short priced favourites for outright victory which would see them host the final.
At Bellerive Oval, the Tasmanians have played the South Australians out of a finals berth. Only able to bat for 55 overs in the face of some excellent bowling from Jackson Bird, playing his first red ball game in 9 months, the South Australians have spent the better part of a day and half in the field. They are almost 300 behind with ttwo days to go. The prospect of the outright victory the South Australians need to secure a finals spot looks very remote.
The final match of the round sees Queensland on top of the Victorians at the MCG in a fixture they need to win outright to play in the finals. That said they will be heartened by both what is going on at the field with the Bulls leading by 73 runs with 5 wickets in hand and also the fact that South Australia now look out of contention and Western Australia unlikely to secure any points from the game in Canberra. His efforts have received none of the plaudits of those from south of the border, but Queensland’s position has been set up by the bowling of James Hopes. 6 for 40 from the Queensland captain bowling with a stress fracture in his back is the epitome of a “captain’s knock”. Day 3 is “D” day for Queensland. A lead of 150 / 200 and some early wickets will see them in the box seat.
New South Wales is in the box seat to host the final. The other combatant looks likely to be Queensland however if they do not best the Victorians the finalist will be Western Australia. Today will be a very interesting day of cricket. It kicks off in a couple of hours. The live stream is available on foxsports.com.au.