South Australia have fallen to a four-wicket, final over loss to Western Australia in the Marsh One-Day Cup on the strength of a stunning century to WA skipper Sam Whiteman.
Whiteman was immovable for the hosts, hitting a maiden ODC century and finishing unbeaten on 137 to guide his side to the win following a strong performance from his bowling unit, with all six bowlers used taking a wicket for WA.
Playing their first games of the summer for SA, allrounder Liam Scott (21* and 3-22) and leg-spinner Lloyd Pope (3-59) put in strong performances, as did Daniel Drew (84 from 96), whose partnership with Nathan McSweeney saw the Redbacks set a benchmark of 7-279, which proved to be a few runs light at the WACA.
Sending the Redbacks in, WA were faced with an early onslaught from thrilling batter Jake-Fraser McGurk, who took one Jhye Richardson over for 22 runs on his way to a fiery 31 from just 15 deliveries.
Henry Hunt and Daniel Drew then consolidated the quick start with a 73-run partnership that was eventually broken when WA allrounder Cooper Connolly had Hunt caught on the boundary. Vice-captain Nathan McSweeney then joined Drew, with both batters passing 50 as they drove the total forward.
Drew shrugged off a watchful start to produce a fantastic knock that ended on 84 from 96 deliveries, highlighted by nine boundaries and a full array of strokes. McSweeney was next to depart with 53 to his name, and with the dismissal of the set batters, the Redbacks found it difficult to accelerate the run-rate.
Finishing unbeaten on 21, returning allrounder Liam Scott concluded the innings with a huge six down the ground, seeing SA set WA a chase of 280.
Switching bat for ball, Scott opened the bowling due to the absence of Harry Conway with back soreness, and quickly he had both WA openers back in the sheds cheaply.
The experience of Whiteman and Cameron Bancroft then showed, with the two adding a 94-run effort to their long list of successful partnerships for WA. A double strike from Lloyd Pope, playing his first game for South Australia since the summer of 2021/22, brought the Redbacks back into the game, but Whiteman was determined at the other end, bringing up his maiden ODC century at just over a run-a-ball.
Coming in at number eight, Richardson took on the role of reducing the gap between runs required and balls remaining, hitting two fours and a six in an unbeaten 25 from 16 deliveries. Late mistakes in the field, including the dropping of Whiteman with just three overs remaining, hurt the Redbacks cause as WA brought up the winning runs with six balls to spare, a chase highlighted by Whiteman’s remarkable innings of 135* from 124 deliveries.