Openers Josh Philippe and D’Arcy Short have produced a record-breaking partnership as WA survived a late scare to start their Marsh One-Day Cup title defence with a five-wicket win over Victoria at Junction Oval.
Player of the match Philippe (100 off 96 balls) and Short (90 off 113) broke a 30-year-old record for the highest opening stand for WA against Victoria, 166 from 29.2 overs, to set the platform for a season-opening win with 14 balls to spare.
Chasing 275 for victory after opposition captain Peter Handscomb’s calculated 93 and some late hitting from the tail, Philippe posted his second one-day domestic century after surviving a controversial caught-behind decision on 62.
With the score at 0-94 in the 20th over, the hard-hitting right-hander went after a wide one down legside off seamer Jon Merlo and tickled it to Handscomb who appeared to complete the catch on the full, but the third umpire didn’t see enough conclusive evidence to overturn the not out soft signal.
“I wanted to be out there as long as I can and try to get the boys over the line, so it’s a bit disappointing to get out but obviously satisfying to get to a hundred because I think previously I’d get out a bit before,” Philippe said.
“The last month leading into the first game has dragged on a bit so we we’re all very keen to get going and it’s nice to start the season with some runs and a win.”
It comes as luckless Victorian young gun Will Pucovski has suffered yet another injury, hurting his right shoulder diving in the field and taking no further part in the match.
The extent of the damage is not yet known but it’s the same shoulder he injured on his Test debut against India in early 2021 which required a reconstruction.
Short had a slow start but hit his straps after reaching his half-century off 73 deliveries before falling to a stunning Will Sutherland one-handed catch at extra cover off Merlo during a mini-collapse of 3-21.
Reigning Laurie Sawle medallist Hilton Cartwright (26 not out off 22) and in-form allrounder Aaron Hardie (10 not out off 13) then held their nerve under a bit of pressure to see WA home.
Handscomb was the mainstay of Victoria’s innings of 9-274 with his patient 110-ball knock before he was change-up king Andrew Tye’s (4-54 off 10 overs) third of four victims.
He had some help along the way, putting on important half-century stands with Matt Short (43 off 38) and Jake Fraser-McGurk (36 off 42) respectively.
Tye also had both of their measures on his way to passing Jo Angel as the State’s second-leading wicket-taker in domestic 50-over cricket with 97 scalps, with Fraser-McGurk’s dismissal, deceived by a dipping slower ball, the best of the lot.
The Vics’ tail wagged, much to the frustration of the West Aussies, with Sutherland (24 off 25), Sam Elliott (19 not out off 18) and Todd Murphy (19 off 16) hitting some agricultural boundaries.
Left-arm seamers Joel Paris (2-44 off 10) and Jason Behrendorff (1-60 off 10) gave WA the perfect start, dismissing the top-three batters within eight overs with the Vics reeling at 3-30 after winning the toss.
Behrendorff had Pucovski (five from 12) first before Paris got Marcus Harris (eight from nine) and Mackenzie Harvey (15 from 23) within four balls.
Tye struck with the first ball of his spell with Short hitting a full toss straight to captain Ashton Turner at mid off, to end a productive 52-run fourth-wicket partnership with Handscomb.
He should’ve had two in two balls but got a strong LBW shout turned down, despite the ball hitting Merlo on the back foot in line with the stumps.
It didn’t cost too much with Merlo (two from six) gone next over thanks to a perfectly-executed short delivery from speedster Lance Morris.
Australian quick Jhye Richardson wasn’t picked with selectors opting for a no-risk approach as he works his way back from a hamstring issue.
WA’s next assignment is a grand final re-match against New South Wales at the WACA Ground on Saturday.