After being sent in to bat on a cold, breezy morning with more than a tinge of green in the wicket Tasmania managed a total of 223. It was an innings with as many changes in tempo and direction as you’d see in a day of test cricket. Having at one stage been 6/116 in the 34th over Tasmania would have been happy with its final total.
Queensland skipper Usman Khawaja went to the toss knowing that a win for his team would mean a home final next week. His decision to bowl was soon justified when Tasmania fell to 3/32 in the 13th over. Caleb Jewell was caught by Charlie Hemphrey at second slip off the bowling off Mark Steketee for 1 when the score was 2. Ben McDermott captaining Tasmania for the first time made 7 before he edged a ball from Jack Wildermuth to the keeper. Beau Webster got away to a good start but when he’d reached 20 was LBW to Xavier Bartlett and Tasmania was in trouble at 3/32 in the 13th over.
A lot then rested on the shoulders of George Bailey but the veteran had only reached 2 when he misjudged a ball outside off stump and played on to Xavier Bartlett.
Mac Wright playing his first senior game for Tasmania and Simon Milenko then set about reviving the innings with a 75 run partnership for the 4th wicket.
Wright who was presented with his Tigers cap by Jordan Silk before the game took twenty balls to get off the mark, the early part of his innings was not without its alarms. He survived a run out near miss before he had scored and had another let off when the Queensland keeper Jimmy Peirson put down a chance when he was on 33.
The partnership had settled in to a groove when Milenko hit a ball into the on side straight to Charlie Hemphrey at deep mid-wicket after a good innings of 36 off 47 balls.
With a half century on debut in sight Wright edged a ball from Steketee to the keeper and was out for 46 off 76 balls. It’s an innings he’ll long remember, the 14 runs he took off Billy Stanlake’s fourth over suggests he has the skill and the temperament to succeed at this level.
When Wright fell so to had Tasmania’s fortunes. A score of 6 for 116 in the 34th over left the lower order with a lot of work to do.
The unlikely pair of James Faulkner and Gurinder Sandhu then set about repairing the innings for a second time. Sandhu who’s previous best in this competition was 16 played with the right combination of skill and common sense. He worked the ball in to the gaps in the manner of a top order player and ran well between the wickets. Faulkner used his vast experience to similar effect, the pair had added 76 off 78 balls and the total was 6/192 before Sandhu whilst running to complete a third completely misjudged the skill of Charlie Hemphrey at deep mid wicket. Hemphrey threw down the stumps from side on in the deep, Sandhu neglected to ground his bat and his foot was in the air when the ball hit the stumps. He was unhappy about his error but had to go. As disappointed as he was Sandhu could be consoled with the fact that he’d made a very good half century for his team (51 off 48 balls).
Faulkner didn’t prosper for too much longer, the score had moved on to 202 before he was very well caught by Matthew Kuhnemann at long off. Faulkner made 30 off 44 balls.
It was then up to the tail to bat out the overs and lift the total as high as it could go.
Nathan Ellis struck some useful blows and had made 14 off 10 balls before he too fell to a careless piece of running between the wickets. He dropped his bat on turning for his third run and despite diving to make his ground like a freestyler at the start of the Olympic 100 metre final was short off his ground.
Jackson Bird and Clive Rose made sure the Tigers used every ball available and the final score of 223 seemed a pretty good outcome after the shaky start. For the record Jackson Bird was run out of the final ball of the innings for 6 to make it three run outs in total in the Tasmanian innings.
Queensland was very alert in the field and its bowlers were consistently good. Stanlake bowled with good pace and bounce, his figures of 0 for 58 weren’t a proper reflection of his effort. Mark Steketee bowled with excellent control and finished with 3/33 off his ten overs.
Queensland began the chase well. It reached 56 for no wicket when Max Bryant edged a ball from Jackson Bird to the Tasmanian keeper Ben McDermott. One run later Matthew Renshaw was out for 1 also caught behind this time off the bowling of Sandhu. Charlie Hemphrey had made 9 before he too was caught behind off the bowling of Bird. At 3 for 75 in the 16 the over Queensland knew it had to consolidate.
Usman Khawaja and the 21 year old Bryce Street then built a partnership of 62 before Clive Rose got one through defence of Street and had him clean bowled for 29. The very next ball Jimmy Peirson played a ball in to on side, took off for a run, was sent back by Usman Khawaja and after a brilliant throw from Simon Milenko was run out for a golden duck. Queensland was 5 for 137 and Tasmania was in with a real chance and in search of more wickets.
Usman Khawaja and Jack Wildermuth took the sting out of the game with an 85 run partnership for the 6th wicket. Wildermuth was particularly strong off the front foot and was out just two runs short of the victory target of 224 caught by Simon Milenko at mid wicket off Clive Rose for a well made 48 of 55 balls.
Khawaja Rode his luck to a degree but was a high class as always and was unbeaten on 86 (off 122 balls) after he struck the winning runs. Queensland won with 6 wickets and seventeen runs to spare.
Mention has to be made of the exceptional spell of 10 overs from Jackson Bird. His length and control were impeccable, his figures of 2/28 don’t really tell the story of the sustained quality of his bowling. With the ball and in the field Tasmania were good. In the end its total of 223 was a bit too light. It proved to be a bad toss to lose.
Queensland will now host Western Australia in the final of the Marsh Cup next Thursday. Tasmania host New South Wales in the final game of the home and away phase of the competition on Wednesday.