Casey-South Melbourne pulls off massive upset

THE finals have arrived at last for the Victorian Men’s Premier Cricket League, with high expectations set for the postseason given how entertaining the 2021/22 home and away season has proven to be. The eight best teams remained to battle it out to advance to the next stage. Saturday saw the elimination finals and qualifying finals take place around a number of grounds as sides look to put themselves in the best position possible for Sunday’s semi-finals. There were a number of cracking contests in the end, as the competition’s best performed at a high level with bat and ball, setting up a thrilling second round of finals.

St Kilda (116) def. by Casey-South Melbourne (8/118)

One of the most anticipated clashes of the round was between the ladder-leading St Kilda and the in-form Casey-South Melbourne at CitiPower Centre. St Kilda has been excellent for the whole year, but their opponents have been strong over recent weeks, and anything can happen in finals.

The home side won the toss and opted to bat first, given the pristine conditions Melbourne delivered on Saturday. However, this move did not go to plan, with the side suffering quite the batting collapse in the first innings of the match. Their openers were only able to combine for 11 runs, and they had just three players score 19 runs or more, with the highest being Ed Newman‘s knock of 32. Thanks to some impressive work from Casey-South Melbourne bowler Nathan Lambden (who took 3/33), St Kilda were kept to a score of just 116 before they were bowled out, which was one of their lowest of the 2021/22 season.

With an acheivable target on the board, Casey-South Melbourne headed to the crease full of confidence, but when opener Lachlan Sperling was dismissed for a duck, things changed pretty fast. They were getting the runs on the board at a steady pace, but the amount of overs remaining became their biggest enemy. A strong knock from Luke Manders injected some life back into the side, but it was still a race against time. However, they began to slowly approach the required total and eventually got the job done.

Around the grounds

The other qualifying final of the round saw Carlton prove too good for its opponents in Melbourne, claiming an impressive win at Princes Park on Saturday. The home side came into this match as the favoured side and performed to this standard, demonstrating its strength with bat in hand to earn a week off and advance straight to the preliminary finals.

There were also two elimination finals to take place across Melbourne on Saturday, with the first seeing Footscray claim the win over Essendon when the two sides locked horns at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. Essendon won the toss and opted to bat first, performing admirably to post a score of 225. This total proved to be achievable as Footscray emerged winners and advanced to next week.

The second elimination final saw Geelong fall short of chasing down the required score set by Richmond when the two sides went head-to-head at Central Reserve North on Saturday. Geelong won the toss and chose to send their opponents out to the crease first, which slightly backfired when they scored 200. This was too much as Richmond claimed the win to keep their season alive.

Check back in tomorrow as the semi-finals kick off with two cracking matchups on the cards.

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