This year’s tournament consists of five Twenty20 and five one-day matches, with no T20 final to be contested. Instead, points from the group T20 matches (two for a win, one for a tie/no result) will count towards overall championship standings. This all points toward a one-day final on Saturday 11th January at the picturesque Heritage Oval. Queensland currently sit equal first on eight points with Victoria, who have a superior net run rate. The Vics inflicted the Brahmans’ only loss of the tournament to date with a six-wicket win at Rockville Park on Friday.
The Brahmans headed into Sunday’s final T20 fixture full of confidence after a 3-1 start, with opponents WA coming in hot after defeating ladder leaders Victoria in a four-run thriller in the opening round.
Bolstered by the inclusion of former WA Second XI wicketkeeper-batsman Calum How (52 off 45 balls, 5 fours), the Westerners looked on track for a 200+ score until Brahmans skipper and former Queensland Bulls spinner Cameron Brimblecombe (1/33 off four) finally made the first breakthrough at 113. Despite How’s departure soon after (stumped off Chris Stanger) at 2/119, Queensland were unable to take another wicket but were able to restrict WA to 177 from their allotted overs.
The Brahmans lost Cairns allrounder Jake Roach in the first over, leaving veteran Toowoomba opener Chris Gillam to continue his excellent week. His 81 from 48 balls leaves him third on the batting aggregates with 198 runs at 39.60 at the tournament’s halfway mark. Handy contributions from Angus Warnock (23), Sam Lowry (28* off 21) and Joe McGahan (24* off 13) saw the Brahmans needing eight runs off the final over. Lowry found himself on strike for the penultimate ball of the match with scores level, duly depositing it to the fence for a boundary and a thrilling win.
Brimblecombe then backed up to play for the Australian Country XII against the Bulls Masters on Heritage Oval, where he picked up 2/30 off four overs in a 53-run loss.
The Brahmans now kick off the one-day component of the Championships by taking on the ACT at Middle Ridge Park today (10.00am start).
Meanwhile, Queensland Country Women will look to back up their impressive opening win against Victoria with a brace of T20 matches. They take on South Australia at Highfields Sports Park No. 2 at 2.30pm, before backing up to play East Asia Pacific on the same ground at 6.30pm.