Bulls One Win Away From Shield Final
The my Foot Dr Queensland Bulls have closed in on a place in the 2015-16 Sheffield Shield final after overcoming the Victorian Bushrangers by 100-runs in a low scoring affair at the Gabba today.
The outright victory over the table topping Bushrangers, recorded with four-and-half sessions remaining in the match, means the Bulls stay in second spot on the Shield table, just .96 points behind their southern rivals with one competition round remaining.
Should Queensland claim outright points against Western Australia in next week’s game at the Gabba starting on Tuesday, and Victoria lose or draw their match with New South Wales, then the Bulls will host the Shield final for the first time since 2011-12.
Conversely, a loss against the Warriors could push Queensland out of the finals equation completely with four teams vying for the two spots in the decider. The Bulls sit 1.53 points above NSW who have thrown their hat into the ring to possibly host the final after defeating Tasmania today.
The winner out of the WA and South Australia game currently in action will also remain in contention for a top two finish.
In today’s action Queensland added just 10-runs to their overnight total this morning after Chris Hartley had earlier reached his half century, as the Bushrangers were set 228 for victory with the better part of two days play remaining.
Fresh from their demolition of Victoria’s batting line-up yesterday that saw an astonishing 18-wickets lost, the Bulls’ new-ball bowlers wasted no time in making inroads into the visitors’ middle order.
Peter George, Mark Steketee and Jack Wildermuth all took early wickets to leave the Bushrangers reeling at 4-48 before the hosts were met with some brief resistance from Bob Quiney and Dan Christian. When both batsman were caught at fine-leg off the bowling of stalwart James Hopes in the space of 11-runs, it gave Queensland the ascendancy they refused to let go of.
A further two scalps to Hopes now leaves the veteran requiring just two more to reach 300 career first-class wickets, while another seven will see him reach the same mark for the Bulls.
Bulls’ skipper Chris Hartley paid tribute to Hopes, his long-time state teammate after the veteran’s four wicket spell proved the catalyst for his side’s victory.
“I said to the boys that the Vic’s were at some stage going to have a partnership and that they’re not a team that just rolls over. I asked our team who was going to be the one that stands up and I reckon a lot of the boys were ready to put their hand up, but it’s no surprise that is was Hopesy who opened the door for us getting a couple of breakthroughs.
“He’s done it time and time again for Queensland and hopefully the young guys who are getting the opportunity to play with him are learning as much as they can,” Hartley said.
In a game dominated by the ball, only Hartley and Quiney passed 50 for both sides, while Wildermuth led the way for the Bulls with seven wickets for the match.
Current Sheffield Shield Table
1. VIC – 46.62 Points
2. QLD – 45.66
3. NSW – 44.13
4. WA – 33.83
5. SA – 32.87
6. TAS – 25.69
*WA and SA currently playing in Perth. Points for the current round have not been added for these teams.
Click here to view the Sheffield Shield table.
Remaining Sheffield Shield Fixtures – all starting Tuesday March 15th
QLD v WA – The Gabba
SA v TAS – Adelaide
VIC v NSW – Alice Springs