Victoria have defeated Western Australia to win the 2014-15 edition of the Sheffield Shield. The Western Australia had to win the game in order to claim the title. But Victoria on the other hand, had got a target of 334 and made no attempt to chase it down.
The win gave a tribute to their departing coach Greg Shipperd, who had announced his departure at the end of the campaign. This will also give a tribute to one of their leading players, Chris Rogers, who had announced his intentions of Full Retirement after the Ashes in England midway through this year.
It was also an especially impressive turnaround after they finished on the bottom of the table last summer in what was Matthew Wade’s first season as captain. Victoria won six matches under Wade this season, despite playing only twice at the MCG, and by the end of the summer their side was so strong that Wade’s predecessor Cameron White could not even squeeze into the XI.
The final day was always going to be a challenge for Western Australia given Victoria needed only a draw, but they perhaps did not help themselves by batting on for six overs in the morning. They declared on 2 for 293 with Marcus Harris on 158 and captain Adam Voges on 36, but the target of 334 was never likely to interest Victoria.
Rogers made a determined 17 from 66 deliveries on his way to a second Shield title with Victoria, before he was bowled by Nathan Coulter-Nile, and his opening partner Rob Quiney settled in for a long stay. Marcus Stoinis was caught and bowled for 8 in unusual fashion when his cut ricocheted off Cameron Bancroft at silly mid-off and back into the hands of the bowler.
Victoria were 2 for 70 in the 37th over of the 96 allocated for their innings, and that became 3 for 98 in the 56th over when Quiney was caught behind off Andrew Tye for 53. But the only other breakthrough was when Peter Handscomb was bowled by Coulter-Nile for 13 in the 65th over, which left Victoria at 4 for 123 and gave the Warriors a sniff.
However, Wade and veteran David Hussey settled in to steer the Victorians to safety and to the Sheffield Shield title, their unbeaten 35-run partnership coming from 30 overs. At the end, Victoria were 4 for 158 with Hussey on 37 from 169 deliveries and Wade on 9 from 99.