Cooper guides SA to win over NSW
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Tom Cooper has put the distraction of the Phillip Hughes inquest behind him to guide South Australia to a six-wicket thumping of NSW in their one-day cup clash in Sydney.
All eyes at Drummoyne Oval on Wednesday were on the Redbacks' batsman and NSW quick Doug Bollinger, as both sides attempted to move on after Hughes' tragic death was again put under the spotlight this week.
Bollinger and Cooper had appeared at the hearing to deny the 25-year-old had been sledged in the lead-up to being struck by a Sean Abbott bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match in November 2014.
Cooper and Bollinger both rejected claims that the NSW left-arm paceman had told Hughes "I'm going to kill you" during the fateful match between the two states.
The pair both did their jobs for their sides - Cooper hitting a valuable 47 to guide the Redbacks to a bonus-point victory as they chased down the Blues' total of 208 in 39.2 overs.
He and man of the match Callum Ferguson (73no) put on 95 for the third wicket before Cooper was dismissed by Bollinger, who finished with 3-35.
"Fantastic - can't speak highly enough of him," Ferguson said when asked about Cooper's performance.
"Real resilient and that goes for the NSW side as well.
"It's obviously a difficult time but everyone bounced back and got out here today and Coops in particular was fantastic. He put it at the back of his mind and played an unselfish knock at the end to get that bonus point."
Jake Weatherald (37) and Alex Carey (43) also helped to make light work of the chase after unlikely hero Wes Agar helped skittle the Blues.
The rookie paceman took 4-43 including the key wickets of openers Daniel Hughes (13) and Ed Cowan (50).
The 19-year-old little-known younger brother of former Australian spinner Ashton proved the suprise packet in just his fourth outing for his state, having made his debut earlier in the series.
The Blues' innings never reached any great heights as Cowan, Nic Maddinson (36), Moises Henriques (26) and Kurtis Patterson (27) all threw away promising starts.
The result jumps SA over NSW into fifth on seven points, only behind fourth-placed Western Australia on net run rate, to put them in finals contention with two games remaining.