Hardie, Agar Boost WA for Shield Final Showdown

Hardie, Agar Boost WA for Shield Final Showdown

Western Australia's hopes of reaching the Sheffield Shield final have been boosted by the return of allrounder Aaron Hardie, who has been cleared to play in the crucial clash against Victoria in Melbourne from Monday.

Hardie, who has been sidelined with a minor calf injury since facing Tasmania in Hobart in mid-February, has been passed fit and will bolster WA's lineup for the winner-takes-all match. The winner of the Victoria-WA clash will face Tasmania in the final.

Ashton Agar has also been included in WA's squad as they cover all bases for the conditions they could face at Junction Oval. If Agar plays, it would be his first first-class match since the SCG Test against South Africa early last year.

Agar has slipped down WA's red-ball pecking order behind offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli, who has been one of their standout bowlers this season with 37 wickets at 30.21. Agar has also fallen down Australia's white-ball hierarchy after being ruled out of the ODI World Cup through injury.

Victoria have been boosted by the availability of Scott Boland, who has been released from Australia's Test squad in New Zealand. Boland has made five appearances for Victoria this season, taking 26 wickets at 16.50.

There remains a slim chance that WA could still host the Shield final in Perth if Tasmania lose to South Australia and don't gain 0.14 more first-innings bonus points than them.

In the Sheffield Shield, teams get six points for an outright win, one point for a draw, plus 0.01 of a bonus point for every run over 200 they score during the first 100 overs of their first innings and 0.1 of a bonus point for every wicket a team takes during the first 100 overs of their opponent's first innings.

If Victoria-Western Australia finished in a draw, there is an outside possibility of New South Wales sneaking into the final, although they would need a huge amount of bonus points against Queensland.

Tags: #SheffieldShield, #WesternAustralia, #Victoria, #AaronHardie, #AshtonAgar

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