The Panthers have taken out the inaugural Cricket Victoria Grand Slam today with a tight seven run win over the Blues at the MCG.
Played as a curtain-raiser to the Stars game tonight, the Panthers batted first, being sent in by Blues' skipper Nick Ross.
Tom Smyth drew first blood when he lured James Nanopoulos out of his crease and Brayden Stepien whipped off the bails to claim the stumping. In the sixth over Smyth struck again when he trapped Brett Forsyth lbw. Tom Donnell (25 off 27 balls) continued to build the total, but the Panthers battled to maintain the strike-rate above 100 as regular wickets fell, with Aaron Smillie (2/22 off 3 overs) and Tom Smyth (2/16 off 4) the best of a disciplined Blues' attack.
The final total of 9/122 appeared sub-par, but former Sri Lankan Test off-spinner Suraj Randiv soon turned that theory on its head, taking the wickets of Stepien, Tom Smyth and Matthews in his first two overs.
The Blues were struggling at 4/37 at the half-way mark, but skipper Nick Ross (71 off 59 balls, 7 fours) played a fine innings to get his side back into the contest. 19 were required off the last two overs, but Karl Carver conceded just four off the penultimate over. With 15 required off the last over, two run outs blew the Blues' chances and the Panthers triumphed by seven runs.
Both clubs have qualified for the National Club T20 Finals to be played in Adelaide in early March.