NSW have beaten titleholders Queensland by two wickets, but with only two balls to spare, to reach the final of the domestic one-day cricket cup
Queensland’s two-year reign as domestic one-day cup holders is over, with NSW collecting a nervy two-wicket win with two balls to spare in the preliminary final at Blacktown in Sydney.
The Blues, boosted by the return of Australian Test allrounder Shane Watson from a five-month injury absence, made hard work of the run chase on Friday night before eventually reaching the modest target of 226 to set up a meeting with Western Australia in Sunday’s final at the SCG.
The Blues’ top five batsman all reached 20 but opener Peter Nevill finished as top-scorer with 44.
Watson batted solidly without finding any real fluency and was eventually bowled trying to sweep after scoring 34 off 62 deliveries.
In the end, it took breezy knocks from Ryan Carters (28 from 23) and Pat Cummins (28no from 21) to get the Blues over the line.
“It was great to get out there again,” said Watson.
“It was nice to get some time in the middle. It would have been nice to score a bit quicker but it wasn’t meant to be.
“It was a bit more difficult than I thought to rotate the strike, and that was probably my biggest issue tonight.
“I feel 100 per cent. To be able to get through today in the field and batting, it all felt comfortable.
“To be a part of NSW getting through to the final, it was a great day in the end.”
A record seventh-wicket partnership of 112 between James Hopes and Ben Cutting rescued Queensland from disaster in their innings.
The holders reached 8-225 from their 50 overs, a figure that seemed unlikely early in their innings after the Bulls had stumbled to 6-95.
Captain Hopes batted cautiously to start with before upping the tempo to finish with 72 from 96 deliveries, while Cutting hit 52 from 68 as the pair set a Queensland record for the seventh wicket.