Tassie through to one-day final

TASMANIA have powered into the Ryobi One-Day Cup final with an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Queensland in Hobart.

Test opener Ed Cowan and rising star Jonathan Wells cracked centuries as the Tigers chased down a competitive Bulls total of 8-282 with 16 balls to spare, never giving the visitors a sniff of the bonus point victory they needed to make the decider.

Cowan and Wells put on 223, the fifth highest second-wicket partnership in domestic one-day history as Tasmania completed the highest chase at Bellerive in the domestic one-day format.

Tasmania will play in their fourth final in five seasons and are now a chance of hosting South Australia on February 25.

The Tigers moved to 26 points on the ladder, ahead of the Redbacks’ 23 with SA still to play Victoria in their last regular season game on Saturday at the MCG.

Cowan and Wells paced the innings perfectly, ensuring the 226 needed to deny Queensland the bonus point was in sight before hitting the accelerator in a bid for the home final.

The Tigers’ chase didn’t begin well when Cosgrove was out lbw to Bulls quick Alister McDermott for 1 in just the third over.

Wells escaped two early exits on 7 and 45 when keeper Ben Dunk dropped him and missed a stumping on a poor night in the field for the visitors.

But Wells and Cowan put Queensland out of business in the 38th over when a boundary from the Test opener took the home side to 1-228.

Cowan’s 125 came off 107 balls with 13 fours and two sixes before he was run out, while Wells steered the side home with an unbeaten 121 from 145 balls.

Earlier, Queensland rebounded from 2-16 with young gun Chris Lynn making 98 off 100 balls and an injured Nathan Reardon 67 off 68.

An in-form Jackson Bird was the best of the Tigers’ bowlers with an impressive 2-20 from seven overs.

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Warriors pip Bulls again

JUST 24 hours from a one-wicket loss to WA in their Sheffield Shield clash, Queensland have fallen short again, this time by 5 runs in their hosting Ryobi One-Day Cup match at the Gabba.

An impressive century from Nathan Reardon wasn’t enough for the hosts, who now face a do-or-die clash with second-placed Tasmania at Bellerive next Wednesday to be any chance of joining South Australia in the February 25 one-day final.

Reardon’s 116 runs proved below par as the Bulls were bowled out for 279 in the final over at the Gabba, chasing WA’s 9-284.

With Queensland needing nine off the final over, Reardon chanced his arm once too often and was caught on the boundary off the first ball by Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-84).

In the end, tailender Alister McDermott needed a six off the final ball to complete the highest successful domestic one-day run chase at the Gabba, but it was not to be.

It was the third straight loss for the Bulls and the first win for the season for the bottom-placed Western Australia.

Reardon gave his side a chance with a 117-run fourth-wicket stand with Joe Burns (82).

Reardon hit 10 fours and two sixes in a knock that lasted almost three hours.

Earlier, captain Marcus North (93) helped WA reach 9-284 off their 50 overs after losing opener Shaun Marsh for seven.

North combined with Adam Voges (62) in a 141-run, fourth-wicket stand before Ben Cutting (4-68 off 13 overs) sparked a Queensland fightback with the ball.

WA were cruising at 3-205 but stumbled, at one stage losing 5-47.

However, the Warriors were still able to post their biggest one-day total at the Gabba, eclipsing their previous best of 6-264 posted in the 1999-2000 season.

The stand between North – who hit 12 fours and a six – and Voges was sensationally snapped in the 38th over.

Voges – who was dropped on 59 – was sent back at the non-striker’s end by North, only to be caught short by a direct hit from Queensland stand-in skipper Ryan Broad.

Alister McDermott – fresh from his 7-24 haul in Queensland’s dramatic one-wicket Sheffield Shield loss to WA this week – took 2-69 off 13 overs.


Warriors claim points in thriller

A DEFINING seven-wicket haul by quick Alister McDermott could not stop Western Australia grabbing a dramatic one-wicket Sheffield Shield win over Queensland at the Gabba.

Chasing just 68 to win, WA were reduced to 9-64 after McDermott’s incredible haul of 7-24 was followed by two wickets from Ben Cutting (2-29).

Tailender Michael Hogan survived Cutting’s hat-trick ball then rattled off the remaining four runs required for victory off the next two balls to break any hope of a Queensland victory.

Already boasting an action similar to his former Test-playing father Craig, McDermott provided a fiery spell on a deteriorating pitch to ensure the hosts weren’t going down without a fight.

McDermott took the first seven wickets to fall ensuring a comfortable run chase became a rocky ride for the visitors.

In just his fifth first class game, McDermott eclipsed his previous best figures of 3-66.

McDermott’s figures could have been better – Ryan Broad hung his head after dropping Nathan Coulter-Nile in the slips with WA 7-63.

But Cutting ensured Queensland weren’t finished with yet.

He had Coulter-Nile caught behind before bowling Michael Beer next ball and suddenly WA were shellshocked at 9-64.

However, Hogan showed nerves of steel to seal an outright victory for second placed WA that whittled Queensland’s ladder lead to just four points with three rounds remaining.

Earlier on Thursday, Queensland set a solid victory total after at one stage losing 4-11 to be bundled out for 175 in their second innings.

Ex-Test spinner Beer (3-19) was the pick of the bowlers for the Warriors.

He sparked the collapse by dismissing Bulls’ stand-in captain Chris Hartley (21) and Cameron Boyce (0) in the space of three balls to reduce the hosts to 8-164.

Hartley was hardly impressed when given out caught at bat-pad, standing his ground before trudging off as WA celebrated.

Beer continued the damage when he trapped Luke Feldman in front as Queensland overall lost 6-49 on the final day of play.

Top scorer for Queensland was Joe Burns (43) but Michael Neser received the loudest applause.

The all-rounder defied an ankle sprain to bat on Thursday, much to the delight of the home crowd.

He hobbled to nine runs before being bowled by ex-Bulls quick Nathan Rimmington (3-28), who continued his strong form with the ball following his impressive T20 campaign with the Perth Scorchers in the recent Big Bash League.

The Bulls and the Warriors will square off again at the Gabba on Saturday, with the home side desperate to cement victory in their Ryobi Cup clash.


Rain forces stumps in Brisbane

BAD WEATHER has ended play early in the final session on day three of Queensland’s and Western Australia’s clash at the Gabba, with the hosts holding a marginal three run lead at 4-111 in their second inngs.

Queensland had a positive start to the day, taking the final six Warriors’ wickets to have the visitors all out for 359 inside the first session, with a lead of 108.

The Bulls’ were once again poor at the top of the order.

They lost an early wicket – this time Wade Townsend for a duck in the first over – and players, such as Andrew Robinson (30) and Ryan Broad (40), forfeited their wickets after appearing set at the crease.

The hosts had finally moved into the lead in the 36th over of their second dig, but the dark storm clouds opened in the 37th over, bringing ground staff racing out with the heavy covers at 4pm local time.

Officials called stumps at 4:49pm, with play to resume at 9:30am on Thursday, the final day of the Shield clash between the two opposing states.

Warriors all-rounder Mitchell Marsh holds impressive innings figures of 2-14 after six overs, while Nathan Rimmington continued his strong showing against his former side, removing Townsend to set the ball rolling and compliment his career-best 3-63 in the first innings.

Young Joe Burns (32 not out) continued to show composure for the Bulls, accumulating slowly in the face of some testing bowling from the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Burns will start day four alongside captain Chris Hartley, who had time to add just one run before the rain fell.

Resuming at 3-91 after tea, Queensland’s position went from bad to worse, when first-innings top-scorer Chris Lynn feathered an edge off Coulter-Nile through to Luke Ronchi, departing without scoring in 17 deliveries.

Earlier, fast bowler Ben Cutting took 5-43 in the morning session to help bowl the Warriors out for a smaller than expected total of 359, giving his side hope with only a 108-run deficit to make up in the second innings.

Shaun Marsh (79) and Liam Davis (68) were the best of the visiting batsmen in their first innings, involved in three straight partnerships in excess of 50 runs, which set the platform for their first-innings lead.


Warriors dominate day 2

WESTERN AUSTRALIA hold complete control of their clash with Queensland at the Gabba, after bowling the hosts out for 251 before reaching 4-250 at stumps on the second day.

The Warriors efficiently plucked out the final three Bulls wickets in under an hour, before their top four blades – Wes Robinson (42), Liam Davis (68), Shaun Marsh (79) and skipper Marcus North (35) – set the visitors on track for a resounding victory.

While there was no lack of effort from the Queensland attack, the West Australians simply outplayed their counterparts in second-day conditions that favoured bat over ball.

Adam Voges (eight not out) and Mitchell Marsh (six not out) were both looking comfortable at the crease by the time umpires called a halt for light with the Warriors one-run short of Queensland’s total.

For struggling Test batsman Shaun Marsh, the much-needed half-ton came only after being given a life on 34, but the innings included 13 boundaries and some lovely, form-building straight-drives.

When Marsh and North raised a 50-run partnership in the 67th over it was the side’s third straight; by comparison, Queensland had just one half-ton partnership in their innings, between Chris Lynn and Neser for the seventh wicket.

In the end it was Alister McDermott – the Bulls bowling standout – who broke the third-wicket partnership, hammering away on a line and length until he managed to turn Marsh inside out, procuring a thick edge to Cameron Boyce at gully.

In the next over Michael Neser made it two wickets in two balls for the hosts, with North clipping away a leg-side delivery, only to turn around and witness a full-length screamer from wicketkeeper Chris Hartley.

As he had at the start of his innings, Marsh began uncertainly after tea, seeming to struggle with Feldman in particular, but he enjoyed the change of pace when Boyce came on, hitting boundaries in consecutive overs to raise his 24th first class 50.

Feldman’s hot start to the third session paid dividends in the 55th, when Davis rocked back and cut from the meat of the bat, picking out Joe Burns at point, who took the chance calmly hard and low to his left.

Davis’ dismissal brought the partnership with Marsh to an end one run short of a hundred, but with skipper Marcus North striding to the crease, the visitors didn’t lose much momentum.

The 200 arrived for Western Australia from the final ball of the 60th over, before Cutting struck a small blow back for Queensland in the next, catching North flush on the side of the head with a snarling bouncer.

Lynn and Neser were the best of the Bulls in Queensland’s innings, helping raise a somewhat competitive total after a slow and unyielding first two sessions, in which the Bulls could manage just 105 runs.

Nathan Coulter-Nile and former Bull Nathan Rimmington were the pick of the Western Australia bowlers, taking 4-66 and 3-63, respectively.


Warriors in control

WESTERN AUSTRALIA are in control after the first day of their top-of-the-table Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland at the Gabba, holding the hosts to 7-212 in a day of slow scoring and accurate bowling.

After Queensland had just 105 on the board after two super-tight sessions, Chris Lynn (57 not out) regained form and was joined by all-rounder Michael Neser at the crease, in a morale-boosting 51-run sixth-wicket stand.

No.2 batsman Wade Townsend (54) was the only Queenslander with the bat, along with Lynn, to bring up a respectable half-century on a day where the Bulls lost too many cheap wickets.

Former Bull Nathan Rimmington was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with two wickets, along with talented duo Mitchell Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Talking points

1. Cheap wickets are costly

Queensland will be ruing the poor batting from most of their order, Townsend and Lynn aside, on their wicket, which makes the first day of this Shield clash with WA even more disappointing. Take nothing away from the Warriors, their bowling and fielding was excellent – it was fast, accurate and penetrated the Bulls’ batting order.

2. Bulls a better side with James Hopes and Peter Forrest

For a Queensland side missing their injured skipper and their best batsman, the Bulls were always going to be depleted but they’re unlikely to get them back for this clash with WA so others must step up. Hopes has been struggling with knee soreness since the Big Bash, while former New South Welshman Forrest is on national duty with the ODI squad. Stand-in captain Chris Hartley (3) was embarrassed on day one, trapped by Mitchell Marsh on an lbw call, ending his time at the crease in quick fashion.

3. WA boast impressive XI, they didn’t make the BBL final with an average squad!

For anyone who saw the Perth Scorchers in the recent Big Bash League, it wouldn’t have taken long to notice that they’d built a very good squad for the inaugural season. Nathan Rimmington, Mitchell Marsh, Nathan Coulter-Nile were all influential and the Scorchers were captained very well by the experienced former Test player in Marcus North. All four played crucial roles in today’s Shield clash with Queensland.

4. Mitchell Marsh is the next best up and coming all-rounder since Shane Watson

Didn’t see much of this talented cricketer until the Big Bash, and he didn’t disappoint. With doubts over the injury-prone Shane Watson, Marsh is the next best thing. He is confident at the crease and bowls great line and length, all good signs to cement a Test birth. He was selected in the Australian T20 International squad following his breakout Big Bash campaign.


Aussies run out of luck at the MCG

AUSTRALIA suffered four run-outs in their total of 131 before India cruised to an eight-wicket win in Friday night’s second Twenty20 international at the MCG.

India’s victory in front of 62,275 fans squared the two-match series at one-all and ended India’s losing streak which included all four Tests and Wednesday night’s T20 clash earlier this summer.

With only one run needed off the final over, Clint McKay bowled three dot balls before Gautam Gambhir hit a four to claim victory for the tourists with two deliveries to spare.

Gambhir was unbeaten on 56.

India captain MS Dhoni claimed two catches and a stumping and set aggressive fields before scoring 21 not out.

Spinner Brad Hogg removed Virender Sehwag (23) caught at cover, before Virat Kohli scored 31 in a 54-run partnership with Gambhir.

Wicketkeeper and Test hopeful Matthew Wade took a diving catch to dismiss Kohli off Mitchell Marsh’s bowling but Australia failed to stop India’s momentum with the bat.

Earlier, Aaron Finch (36) and Matthew Wade (32) were two of Australia’s four run-out victims.

India’s work-rate and enthusiasm in the field, which had been so clearly lacking in the Test series, was the standout feature of Australia’s innings collapse.

David Warner, whose innings of 25 on Wednesday included a huge six after switching from left-handed to right-handed mid-delivery, failed to play the role of entertainer on Friday.

Warner lasted only eight balls before departing caught at deep square leg for eight.

Shaun Marsh, who scored only 17 runs in the Test series, fell for a second-ball duck as Praveen Kumar claimed two wickets in an over.

David Hussey, who was involved in the run-outs of Finch and skipper George Bailey (three), was the fifth man out for 24.

The fall of Mitchell Marsh for 13 sparked a collapse of 5-12.

Friday’s match attendance figure narrowly beat the 59,659 at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.

Australia will now host world champions India and World Cup finalists Sri Lanka in a one-day series, with the first game on Sunday at the MCG where the home side will play India.

Australian skipper George Bailey is banking on veteran Mike Hussey and injured pair Pat Cummins and Shane Watson to return to the squad in the build-up to the World T20 in September in Sri Lanka.