Marcus Stoinis plundered the Tasmania bowling with an explosive knock, just seven runs short of a century, to guide Western Australia to a convincing five-wicket victory in the JLT One-Day Cup match in Sydney on Monday.
Chasing a target of 291 for the win, the Kings XI Punjab all-rounder walked in to bat at 167/3 at the end of the 24th over with the asking rate a comfortable 4.76 runs per over. The 29-year-old then witnessed two quick wickets fall at the other end, with the scoreline now reading 168/5 in the 26th over and Tasmania now back in the game. Stoinis, amidst the crunch, scored just 1 run off the first 8 balls he faced.
But Stoinis was in no mood to cruise.
Steadily increasing on the gas, he creamed Jackson Bird for 21 runs, including a wide, in the 32nd over and went on to raise his fifty, with a six off Gurinder Sandhu, in just 34 balls.
He was particularly severe on Sandhu as he racked up a mammoth 26 runs off the 40th over and scored 53 runs off the 18 deliveries he faced from the medium pacer alone.
Western Australia sealed their fifth straight win with nearly 10 overs to spare, despite Jhye Richardson scoring a patient 29 off 43 balls, but more importantly letting Stoinis unleash at the other end.
Stoinis ended unbeaten on 93 in just 49 balls, an innings peppered with 8 fours and 7 sixes, and a strike rate of 189.79.
WHAT A WIN 💪— WACA (@WACA_Cricket) October 1, 2018
The Western Warriors defeat Tasmania by 5 wickets thanks to an unbeaten 124 run partnership between Marcus Stoinis (93*) and Jhye Richardson (29*)
We finish undefeated in the #JLTCup and progress to the finals! pic.twitter.com/vnwjjGPmV2
Western Australia has been opting for five regular bowlers in the tournament which hasn't allowed Stoinis to show his caliber with the ball, but he was a live-wire in the field taking two catches that helped him earn the Man of the match award.
It was typical of his recent form in the Australian domestic one-day competition, as he followed this knock up from a bludgeoning 47 not out off 26 balls against Victoria in his first game of the home summer and then 27 off 18 against Queensland. He has scored 167 runs in the tournament so far at an average of 83.50 and a remarkable strike rate of 179.56.
His quickfire innings against Victoria featured four sixes including a massive strike that took the ball out of the Junction Oval off the bowling of Wes Agar. He then finished the game in style by hitting a six that concluded an easy win for his side.