Bonus point keeps NSW in title chase

CRICKET - AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP 

NSW Country kept themselves in contention for the national championship title in Canberra with a three-wicket win over East-Asia Pacific.

NSW rolled Pacific for just 154 then reached the total in less than 25 overs to pick up the bonus points.

A tactical change saw Keira leg-spinner Jono Cook open the bowling and take 3-23, including the valuable scalp of Jason Kila (4), who had scored a century for Pacific in both of their previous matches.

"It was a pretty flat wicket so we decided to open the bowling with Jono's leggies and he bowled really well," Keira, and Country skipper Graeme Batty said.

"We decided to do it against a team who attacks pretty hard and he did the job and took a few wickets."

Cook was backed up by fellow opener Scott Burkinshaw (3-28) and Blair Lindsay (2-14).

Early on it seemed NSW would make light work of the total when they sat at 3-70, before quick wickets and the run out of Cook left them teetering at 7-134.

Wicketkeeper Tom Groth (34 off 25 balls) secured the points for NSW.

The result ensures NSW will push ladder-leaders Western Australia to the final day of competition to decide the title.

On the final day Western Australia play third-placed South Australia and NSW play Queensland in Twenty20 fixtures.

"We are relying on them to lose really ... but we have to win our game," Batty said.

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