Victoria heap more pain on SA in Marsh Cup

A Peter Handscomb century has led Victoria to a 21-run Marsh Cup victory over South Australia.
A Peter Handscomb century has led Victoria to a 21-run Marsh Cup victory over South Australia.

South Australia's summer of cricket hell is over with their Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup teams failing to win a domestic game in 2020-21.

In a battle of two Marsh Cup stragglers, Victoria prevailed over SA by 21 runs on Thursday, handing the Redbacks a 0-5 record to end their season.

Played in glorious conditions at the CitiPower Centre in St Kilda, a spirited chase by the Redbacks wasn't enough as they just fell short of an unlikely comeback, losing by 21 runs.

Travis Head top-scored with 77 and Harry Nielsen added 51 of his own, but smart bowling in the final overs got Victoria across the line.

It was the Victorians who lost the toss and were put into bat with captain Peter Handscomb and Jonathan Merlo shining.

The home side set a total of 7-333, scoring at 6.66 runs per over and were led by centuries to Handscomb (131) and Merlo (111).

The fourth-wicket partnership of 205 runs was the fourth highest in Victoria's history.

Victoria's strong showing was only marred by the early loss of Sam Harper who was given out in bizarre fashion after obstructing a would-be run-out throw by Dan Worrall.

Wes Agar finished with 3-46 in his spell to top the bowling for the Redbacks, as their attack struggled to crack the partnership of Handscomb and Merlo, which finally ended in the 45th over.

South Australia's top five batsmen combined for 239 runs and were looking strong before Sam Elliott grabbed the crucial wicket of Travis Head.

Elliott, the son of former Test cricketer Matthew Elliot, finished with 2-60 off nine overs on debut.

South Australia's innings looked likely to deflate when Harry Nielsen was dismissed with the score at 7-267, but Sam Kerber and Corey Kelly showed resilience with 22 and 23 runs respectively.

In the end, their efforts weren't enough as Merlo and Elliott saw off the tailenders, capping off Victoria's season with their first win.

Australian Associated Press