Richmond sends Melbourne home in straight sets

IN an action-packed weekend of action for the Victorian Men’s Premier Cricket League, the competition’s semi finals went ahead just one day after the elimination and qualifying matches. Just six teams remained, with two sides eliminated on Saturday. The defeated top-four sides took on the elimination final winners and there were some surprising results across the day’s play.

In one of the more surprising results of the finals series to date, Melbourne has been sent packing in straight sets after being defeated by Richmond at Albert Ground. The home side was widely expected to advance to the next stage with a win here, but instead it was Richmond that delivered a classy performance with bat in hand, chasing down the required total with a few overs to spare.

Richmond won the toss and opted to send their opponents to the crease to bat first, given their success chasing down scores in the past. While Melbourne didn’t set the world on fire to start the innings, they were still able to chug along quite nicely. Their openers reached 18 runs apiece before being dismissed, but there were plenty of contributors that helped get their score to quite a nice total. Fergus O’Neill got going in the middle of the batting order with a knock of 61, while further down, Jackson Koop also made an impression with his score of 52 runs. By the time the 50-over mark came around, Melbourne had accumulated a total of 236 runs, making things a bit tricky for Richmond with the second innings approaching.

With a tough task ahead, Richmond knew it would need a number of players to step up if the chase was to be completed. Yash Pednekar could only manage 14 runs, but his fellow opener in Shobit Singh did not have the same troubles. He was a massive catalyst for the lifting of his side’s run rate, racking up 72 runs to give Richmond a red-hot chance at causing the upset in their most important game of the season. Singh was not the only contributor for the team, with four more players scoring 18 or more runs, including a fantastic knock from Andrew Humphries, who finished with 58 runs from just 41 balls, and was apart of the match-winning partnership. In the end, Richmond reached 237 runs just under four overs in hand, and will advance to the preliminary finals next weekend, while Melbourne’s hopes for a premiership are now over.

The other match to take place on Sunday panned out pretty much as expected, as St Kilda proved too good for a brave Footscray side when the two teams locked horns at Harry Trott Oval. St Kilda was upset in their qualifying final against Casey-South Melbourne on Saturday, but were sure to not make the same mistake again. Their total of 284 was too much for Footscray (as it would be for most teams), but they still put up a decent fight, posting a score of 256 to at least finish their season in style.

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