The Queensland Bulls surge from last to first has ended tonight with Tasmania snatching a low-scoring win in their JLT One Day Cup semi-final at Drummoyne Oval.
The Tigers overcame early wickets to regroup and clinch a six wicket win to be the first team through to the Final of the limited overs competition.
After Sydney’s big wet cleared to allow the match to start on time, the Bulls had to make use of the most challenging pitch of their tournament.
With the Tigers bowling accurately, Queensland battled to find the stand-out batting effort that had characterized their past few games.
Indeed it fell to Mark Steketee (30) to top score, asTasmania made the most of winning the toss and bowling first to dismiss their opponents for 177.
The Bulls fired back early, with pace spearheads Billy Stanlake and Luke Feldman making inroads to have the Tigers 4-52, before a match-winning century stand between captain George bailey and allrounder Simon Milenko took shape.
For the second time in as many encounters between the two sides, an ex-Bull did the damage with Milenko hitting his second half century of the tournament.
In the end Tasmania cruised to 4-180 in the 38th over, and moved into next Wednesday’s Final against the winner of tomorrow’s other semi-final between WA and Victoria.
The Bulls will look back on a campaign that began with five regular players away with the Australian side, and ended with some noteworthy efforts.
Chris Lynn, in his first Bulls one-day campaign in five years, scored 452 runs at 75 while Sam Heazlett notched 380 runs at 54.28.
Young opener Max Bryant, one of five debutants for the Bulls during the campaign, hit 237 runs at the top of the order at a “Lynneque” strike-rate of 144, including the fastest 50 by a Queenslander in domestic one day cricket.
Paceman Mark Steketee finished with 14 dismissals while fellow quick Billy Stanlake played all bar one of the fixtures to complete his most involved pre-season and early season effort in his career.
Left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann was influential in all of the matches he played in, while Xavier Bartlett, until injury struck late in the campaign, showed skill and control beyond his years.