FINAL BERTH AGAINST THE ODDS
The doomsayers didn't think the XXXX GOLD Bulls could get there, but the 30% of fans who believed that Queensland would reach the Ryobi Cup final will feel quite smug this morning.
Last week's qldcricket.com.au opinion poll asked if the Bulls would make the final and 70% said no.
But WA's fumbles in the field in Perth yesterday let Tasmania – and the Bulls off the hook – dropping Ricky Ponting on four and 35 on the way to 95.
In a remarkably close one-day competition, WA dropped from third to last on the back of the result.
NSW jumped from last to fourth with their win over SA, which saw the Redbacks drop from first to third over the last three rounds.
Just one win separated second from last on the table, although Queensland and Tasmania did have a washout that denied them an opportunity at an extra victory.
Victoria headed the table with 23 points from Queensland (19), SA (18), NSW (17), Tasmania (15) and WA (14).
Queensland's leading wicket-taker in the competition played just three games and their second most effective bowler four of the eight matches.
Matthew Gale took 11 wickets and Cameron Gannon seven.
Chris Hartley was easily the Bulls' leading runscorer with 315 at 52.7, while Usman Khawaja averaged over 50 with 257 from five games.
Gale is injured and Khawaja overseas with the final looming next Wednesday.
Queensland are hoping Cricket Australia will release the four Bulls players involved with the England Lions series for the final.
Ben Cutting, Alister McDermott and Joe Burns would be big inclusions for the final, while Cameron Boyce would come under consideration on the MCG.
Victoria have the big-hitting Aaron Finch and paceman John Hastings involved with Australia A as well.
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