Queensland sets up title clash with NSW

Published: Sunday, March 13, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Queensland will take on cross-border rivals New South Wales (NSW) in the final of Australia's Sheffield Shield cricket competition in Brisbane.

Queensland, beaten finalists in the past two years and winners of the previous three finals, will start strong favourites at home against NSW in the match starting on Friday.

NSW have successfully rebuilt their team following the retirements of Steve and Mark Waugh and Michael Slater, and Michael Bevan's move to Tasmania, and finished the season strongly with two outright wins to overtake Western Australia for second place.

NSW and Queensland have met in five Shield finals since the 1984-85 season, with NSW winning all of them.

Queensland set up the home encounter when their match against Western Australia (WA) petered out to a draw in Brisbane on Sunday.

A return to form by Wade Seccombe (84) left WA searching for a miracle on the final day with a place in the decider at stake.

Seccombe's second half-century of the match gave the hosts an unassailable 440-run second innings lead with the visitors only making a late flurry at the target. WA were allotted 56 overs but finished 199 for four at the close.

NSW cruised to a five-wicket win over Victoria before lunch on the final day in Sydney.

NSW batsman Dominic Thornely was bowled by Cameron White for 56 to leave him 24 runs shy of the 1,000-run milestone in the Shield this season.

Tasmania were consigned to the wooden spoon as young South Australian bowlers Shaun Tait and Daniel Cullen both seized their last chance to press claims for an Ashes tour berth to England with wicket hauls at Adelaide Oval.

Tait, 22, took five wickets, taking him to 65 for the season, which broke a 65-year-old South Australian record, passing legendary leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett's mark of 63 set in 1939-40.

And 20-year-old Cullen capped a superb debut season with a four-wicket haul, to give him eight for the match and 43 for the season, as Tasmania were bowled out for 168 in their second innings, leaving SA to chase down just 17 for a nine-wicket outright win.

It left Tasmania in last place on the standings on 10 points with South Australia (SA) finishing immediately above them with 18 points.

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