New South Wales opener Daniel Hughes posted a memorable unbeaten century but it was all to no avail as the Blues fell just shy of a much-needed one-day cup win over Western Australia in a rain-affected contest at Drummoyne Oval.
Chasing a massive target of 244 off 35 overs following a two-hour rain delay, NSW fell just short reaching 7-235.
Hughes ended unbeaten on 112 in a 96-ball knock, but it amounted to nothing as the Blues remain without a win in their opening three matches and at long odds to feature in the finals.
NSW required 44 off the last four overs, but WA’s bowlers delivered during the final stages to sit top of the standings with a third win from as many starts.
Hughes and Moises Henriques (75 off 65 balls) put on 144 for the second wicket to leave the Blues seemingly on track for victory.
WA were 3-151 off 29.5 overs when rain hit the harbourside venue .
A wild flurry after the break saw WA eventually post 6-210, with the target pushed out to 244 under the DLS method.
Shaun Marsh was in good touch for his first half century of the summer, hitting an accomplished 82 off 84 balls, in a knock which included four sixes.
D’Arcy Short made a rapid-fire 35 at the top of the order, while Mitch Marsh cleared the fence twice in his 30.
Both sides suffered injury blows on the eve of the match with WA batsman Ashton Turner ruled out for six weeks with a broken finger, while NSW’s batting mainstay Kurtis Patterson will miss at least the Wednesday’s match, also against WA, with a quad injury.
Batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood plus off-spinner Nathan Lyon, have all been pencilled in to make their first start of the domestic season for NSW in next week’s Sheffield Shield match against Queensland in Brisbane.