Victoria v Queensland, Big Bash, Melbourne January 2, 2011

Dominant Victoria open campaign in style

The Bulletin by Alex Malcolm

Victoria 4 for 188 (Finch 58, Hussey 42*) beat Queensland 9 for 155 (Hopes 36, McKay 3-26) by 33 runs

Big Bash defending champions Victoria have begun their 2011 campaign in perfect style with a clinical display to account for Queensland in game two at the MCG.

The home side rewarded the 29,429 locals who turned out with a dominant display on a sluggish drop-in wicket.

The Victorian openers set the tone, Aaron Finch and Brad Hodge clubbing 98 from the first 64 balls of the innings after Cameron White won the toss. Anything back of a length or shorter Hodge cut or pulled with typical ease. Anything fuller and straighter Finch clubbed to the sightscreen or into the long-on bleachers, which he did on three separate occasions.

Finch's brutal 58 from 38 balls earned him Man-of-the-Match honours. His dismissal and some tight bowling from Bulls' captain James Hopes slowed the Bushrangers momentarily, but the classy veteran David Hussey (42 not out) sussed the conditions quickly to produce a gem of an innings to take the total to 4 for 188.

It was always going to be a tough ask against a barrage of Victorian quicks. New-ball pairing James Pattinson and Dirk Nannes removed the Queensland openers in consecutive overs to put the Bulls well behind in the game. Hopes, on return from a broken thumb, clubbed five boundaries in 36 but his demise to a slower ball from Clint McKay signalled the beginning of the end as Queensland battled to 9 for 155.

McKay claimed three wickets with off-speed bowling, Nannes three with blistering pace. The Victorians are going to be hard to beat again with the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Cameron White and Matthew Wade playing just minor roles in tonight's first-up win.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth