The Tasmanian Tigers have suffered their second loss of the 2018 JLT Cup today at Hurstville Oval, going down to ladder leaders Western Australia by five wickets.
After posting a competitive score against a quality Warriors bowling attack through scores in the 70s for skipper George Bailey and the supreme form of Ben McDermott, the Tigers swung momentum in their favour in the middle overs with the ball through Gurinder Sandhu and Clive Rose before Marcus Stoinis incredible knock of 93 from 49 deliveries stole it back and took the four points.
If there's a silver lining for the Tigers, it's that they cannot be trumped from second in the table and have advanced directly to the Semi-Finals to be played in Melbourne and Sydney on October 6 and 7, they also got a great look at what Western Australia are capable of if they are to meet again on the D-Day of the tournament.
Aside from the knocks from Bailey and McDermott, the bats toiled on an oval which saw Hobart Hurricanes opener an Australian-record 257 from 148 balls just days earlier. Tom Rogers registered a handy score in the 30s, as did Matthew Wade who looked as though he was finding some of the touch which got him a tournament-opening ton in Townsville.
Some brilliant Clive Rose hitting lifted the Tigers to 290, a score which was defendable if their bowling was at its top level once.
The Warriors, through Phillipe and Inglis and then Short set about ensuring this wasn't the case, traveling at nearly 7 runs per over for much of the first half of their innings.
But when the Tigers managed to plug the flow of boundaries, chances came. And a couple of dropped catches later, Tasmania break through. Three times. For one run. And all of a sudden a victory over the ladder leaders looked a distinct possibility.
This was only until Marcus Stoinis found his feet at the crease and in conjunction with a strong supporting role from fringe Australian paceman Jhye Richardson - the pair catapulted the Warriors to the target (another 120 runs) in the blink of an eye, missing another bonus point victory for the Warriors by just four deliveries.
The Tigers will return home for a short break before learning of their Semi-Final venue and opponent. The Final of the 2018 JLT Cup will be played at CitiPower Centre in Melbourne on Wednesday October 10.