2019-11-18 by W.M.
Khawaja guides Queensland into home one-day final
Queensland 6 for 226 (Khawaja 86*, Wildermuth 48 beat Tasmania 223 (Sandhu 51, Steketee 3-33, Bartlett 3-59 by four wickets
Usman Khawaja’s season of two halves continued as his unbeaten 86 led Queensland to a home Marsh Cup final with a four-wicket victory over Tasmania in Hobart.
Khawaja, who has struggled in first-class cricket this season and missed out on the Test squad, is now the second-highest scorer in the one-day competition.
He ensured that Queensland recovered a middle-order blip which saw them slip to 5 for 137, chasing 224, when Bryce Street and Jimmy Peirson fell in consecutive balls.
Jack Wildermuth helped add a decisive 85 for the sixth wicket and the required rate was never a stretch which meant Khawaja did not need to force the pace.
Max Bryant had given the chase early impetus before he edged behind off Jackson Bird with Matt Renshaw and Charlie Hemphrey also falling to catches from the keeper to leave Queensland 3 for 75 in the 16th over.
After the match Khawaja said he could not remember a pitch in Australia that provided as much grass as this one, with the seam bowlers in the contest throughout the day.
Queensland made excellent use of it after winning the toss as they reduced Tasmania to 4 for 40 – when George Bailey was bowled trying to leave the ball – through excellent early spells from Wildermuth, Mark Steketee and Xavier Bartlett.
The middle and lower order did well to recover as Macalister Wright (46 and Simon Milenko (36 added 75 for the fifth wicket before falling in consecutive overs against Steketee.
Gurinder Sandhu was an unlikely saviour from No. 8 as he struck a maiden one-day fifty, although the landmark came with significant embarrassment as, on the same ball as reaching his half-century, he was carelessly run out while over the crease line but having not grounded the bat or himself.
Queensland will play Western Australia in the final on November 26 at a venue to be confirmed.