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Shayne Hope

WA dismiss Taylor Swift diversion in one-day cup quest

WA are looking to follow Taylor Swift in defining their own era with a stellar Sydney performance. (Joel Carrett / Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Western Australia will have to overcome a Taylor Swift-affected travel schedule as well as an in-form New South Wales side to secure a slice of domestic cricket history as they chase a third straight one-day cup title.

A recent force in the 50-over competition, WA have hoisted the trophy in five of the last nine seasons and are in their fifth straight final.

Their meeting with NSW at Sydney's Cricket Central on Sunday will be the third decider between the two teams in four seasons.

WA can rubber-stamp their dominance by claiming a hat-trick of titles for the first time - a feat not achieved by any state in more than two decades.

WA players with the 2023 Marsh One-Day Cup trophy.
Western Australia are aiming for a third successive one-day cup title when they take on NSW. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

NSW are the only state to have won three straight and have done so twice, in 1992-94 and 2001-03.

"It's been a bit of an up and down season and a challenge for us with injuries and national selection," WA captain Sam Whiteman said.

"A lot of guys have represented the team this year, but the confidence is good.

"The goal is to make a final and we've done that, and you've got to be in it to win it. We're excited."

WA will be without Australia allrounder Aaron Hardie, who was ruled out with calf tightness, but have regained experienced quick Jason Behrendorff from national duty.

The Adam Voges-coached side have also had to deal with a tricky pre-match schedule that was thrown out of whack by Taylor Swift fans booking out flights to Sydney.

The squad was split onto planes flying from Perth via Melbourne and Canberra on Friday, arriving at their Sydney hotel in the early hours of Saturday morning, but the players have taken the inconvenience in their stride.

Taylor Swift fans at Sydney's Accor Stadium.
Taylor Swift fans heading to Sydney caused travel delays for WA's one-day cup team. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

"It's no different than a trip to Hobart when we fly through Melbourne," WA fast bowler AJ Tye said.

"It would've been nice if Taylor Swift had sent a private jet over for us, seeing as she's cost us a direct flight, but that's OK.

"We'll just get on with it and get there and do our job."

NSW have had the wood on WA this season with wins in both previous one-day clashes and a pair of Sheffield Shield matches between the two sides.

Left-handed opener Daniel Hughes is a potential matchwinner for NSW, having scored the most one-day runs of any player this season.

Hughes has blasted 428 at an average of 61.1, with one century and four 50s in his seven matches.

Whiteman sits second with 416 runs at 83.2, including a top score of 137 not out.

"There's no doubt (Hughes) has been a huge anchor in our batting order," NSW captain Moises Henriques said.

"With a record like his, a lot of opposition teams would be completely aware that he plays a huge part in our batting order.

"But we wouldn't be here in the final if we didn't have other guys performing.

"We've got three or four of the top 10 wicket-takers and we've got some young batters coming in that are starting to own this format."

NSW bowler Will Salzmann.
Will Salzmann, with 12 one-day cup wickets, is one of a number of bowling threats for NSW. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

NSW right-arm paceman Jack Edwards (13) has the equal-most wickets this season despite playing just five matches, with WA's Tye also among the leaders.

Edwards' teammates William Salzmann (12) and Ben Dwarshuis (11) aren't far behind.


NEW SOUTH WALES: Jackson Bird, Joel Davies, Ollie Davies, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques (capt), Daniel Hughes, Blake Macdonald, Jack Nisbet, William Salzmann, Tanveer Sangha.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Sam Whiteman (capt), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Mahli Beardman, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Cooper Connolly, Cameron Gannon, Nick Hobson, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, D'Arcy Short, AJ Tye.

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