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Tasmania has the edge for Sheffield Shield final

Roar Rookie
13th March, 2012
5

The Queensland Bulls must turn around a poor recent record in Sheffield Shield finals if they are to defeat Tasmania in this year’s final, starting Friday at the Gabba.

In the last decade Queensland have qualified for the decider on six occasions but won the title just once.

The 2002-2003 final saw the Bulls defeated by a star-studded New South Wales Blues side. Nine out of the eleven Blues starters were current, former, or future Test cricketers. New South Wales were all out for 282, in the first innings, thanks largely to a Michael Slater century.

Stuart MacGill ripped through the Queensland batting line-up, taking 5-16 as the Bulls were routed for just 84. The Blues added another 263, Steve Waugh top-scoring with 56, leaving Queensland chasing a massive 462 runs for victory. The Bulls never got close, being bowled out for 215 with MacGill again the pick of the New South Wales bowlers.

The 2003-2004 decider saw the Bulls completely dominated by the Victoria Bushrangers. Batting first, Victoria amassed 710 runs, a then record for the highest innings total in Shield final history. With victory basically sealed for the Victorians, Queensland batted aggressively but were left chasing a impossible 520 runs for victory on the final day. Queensland were bowled out for 254 giving Victoria a well-deserved Pura Milk Cup after completing the season undefeated.

The Bulls lost their third straight decider in 2004-2005, once again to New South Wales at the Gabba. A stunning spell of 6-27 from Australian left-arm quick Nathan Bracken saw Queensland rolled for 102. However, despite 68 not out from captain Brad Haddin, New South Wales could only muster 188 in reply leaving the game delicately balanced after one and a half days.

An incredibly gutsy 116 from Queensland veteran Martin Love gave the Bulls something to bowl at with New South Wales needing a 183 runs to take the title. In one of the most thrilling finishes in Sheffield Shield history, New South Wales were able to scrape a one wicket win with Bracken and MacGill putting on 22 runs for the last wicket.

Queensland finally broke their losing streak in the 2005-2006 final against Victoria. The Bulls batted to a giant total of 6/900 on a lifeless pitch, with centuries to Jimmy Maher, Shane Watson, Clinton Perren and Martin Love.

It broke the record for highest innings total in a final, and was Victoria’s worst defeat in their 115-year first-class history. Mitchell Johnson was the star with the ball, taking 6-51 in the second innings as Queensland cruised to a massive victory of an innings and 354 runs.

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Victoria and Queensland met once again in the 2008-2009 final but this time Victoria gained the title after the match was drawn. Like Queensland did to them three years earlier Victoria batted their opposition out of the game, thanks to centuries from Chris Rogers, David Hussey and captain Cameron White.

Queensland replied with only 200, allowing Victoria to set them 593 runs to win on the final day. In his final first-class match Martin Love smashed 104 runs but it was not enough for Queensland as they fell well short of the required total.

Queensland were unable to avenge this defeat in 2009-2010, once again going down to a dominant Victoria. Queensland took early wickets in the first innings having Victoria 6-75 just after the lunch break. However, an exceptional 96 from wicket-keeper Matthew Wade, who was supported by bowlers Jon Hastings, Damien Wright and Darren Pattinson, saw Victoria reach a competitive 305.

Several Queensland batsmen got starts but were unable to capitalise, being bowled out for 257.

Aggressive batting from the Victorian top order saw Queensland punished for some poor bowling in the second innings, with Victoria declaring for 8-591, led by a David Hussey century. Queensland slumped to be all out for 182 and their fifth final loss in eight years.

Queensland only need a draw to win the Sheffield Shield for a seventh time. However, the Tasmanian side containing Test batsmen Ricky Ponting and Ed Cowan and exciting bowler Jackson Bird are likely to start favourites thanks to recent form and their superior Sheffield Shield final record.