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Nevill wants to lead NSW to Shield final

By Chris Pike
26 February 2014 02:56PM EST

DESPITE an outright loss to Western Australia in Perth making it more difficult, New South Wales is still shooting for the Sheffield Shield final says stand-in captain Peter Nevill.

NSW arrived in Perth last week sitting atop the Shield ladder following a thumping innings and 48-run victory over Victoria at the SCG upon the competition resuming following the Big Bash League.

The clash was then evenly poised after two days with the Blues batting first and making 344 with Ryan Carters leading the way with 104 and Ben Rohrer adding 77.

WA was then 5-263 and still 81 runs behind heading into the third day, but from that point the Warriors dominated finishing up all out for 462 with a 118-run lead and then restricting NSW to 4-102 and still 16 behind heading into Day 4.

But then, the Blues offered up no resistance losing their last six wickets for just three runs in a 52-ball period on Sunday to be all out for 126 and setting WA just nine runs to win.

While that saw WA replace NSW on top of the Shield ladder on 24 points with South Australia also on 24, the Blues are in third spot on 22 and still very much a chance to make the final next month with their final two games against both those top teams.

The first task for NSW is against South Australia at Adelaide Oval starting next Monday in the Shield's twilight round before a return clash with WA in Canberra to finish the season off.

Stand-in skipper Nevill and wicket-keeper batsman Nevill and his team will learn what they can from the loss to WA, and focus on these last two matches with a spot in the final up for grabs.

"Our fate is in our own hands and hopefully we can put on good performances in these last two matches," Nevill said.

"It's a similar situation to last season when it was very congested and there were a lot of teams in the running for the final, and this season is no different so it's going to be an exciting finish from here.

"You learn what you can from games like this and I think there are lesson to be learnt, but our fate is in our own hands. We are going to play South Australia and WA again in these last two games, and if we perform well in those two games then it should go a long way to making, or hosting, the final."

Despite the loss to WA in Perth, there were good signs for WA.

There was Carters continuing his breakout season top-scoring in both innings with 104 and 37 to now have scored 611 runs this campaign at an average of over 61.

Rohrer also looked good in both innings with 77 and 35 while Sean Abbott was outstanding with bat and ball scoring 34 in the first innings, and taking 4-71 with the ball.

Overall, Nevill was delighted with the effort of his bowlers in hot conditions on a WACA wicket that didn’t offer much assistance with spinner Manjot Singh taking 2-163 from 35 overs in WA's first innings while Doug Bollinger took 1-69 in 24, Trent Copeland 1-78 in 32 and Josh Hazlewood 0-53 in 26.

"I thought we bowled very, very well and I don’t think we bowled with much luck. But sometimes you bowl much worse than that and can get a lot of wickets so you can't really complain too much about that," he said.

"Sean Abbott has had a fantastic season. I think he was the leading wicket-taker in the Ryobi Cup and now he's taken about 25 wickets this season in the Shield. It's been somewhat of a breakout year for him and I'm very pleased to see him progress like that."

With some experience in the form of Bollinger, Copeland and Rohrer plus emerging youth like Carters, Nic Maddinson, Kurtis Patterson, Abbott and Hazlewood, Nevill has no doubt that NSW is set up well for the future.

However, for now all eyes are on trying to make the Shield final this year and the 28-year-old who is captaining the team in the absence of Michael Clarke, Steve Smith and Moises Henriques, he is enjoying the role.

"I've always found that captaincy forces you to think about the game a lot more and that can only be beneficial," Nevill said.

"I've really enjoyed the chance to be captain. It has been a fantastic experience and albeit I'm fourth in line for the captaincy when all the Test boys are added in, but it's still a great honour to lead NSW.

"NSW has somewhat of a reputation for producing a lot of talent and the cupboard is pretty full for the years to come in that regard. It's good signs for the state."

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