Victoria v New South Wales, T20 Big Bash, MCG January 22, 2011

All-round O'Keefe knocks out Victoria

The Bulletin by Andrew Fuss

New South Wales 7 for 168 (Khawaja 65, O'Keefe 50) beat Victoria 7 for 151 (Finch 53) 17 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A brilliant all-round performance from Steven O'Keefe lifted New South Wales to a hard-fought 17-run win over Victoria at the MCG, ending the Bushrangers' finals hopes.

The 'baby' Blues - missing a host of senior players because of international duties and injury - were rattled early by Dirk Nannes (3 for 23), James Pattinson (3 for 22) and an Aaron Finch wonder catch on the boundary, collapsing to 5 for 69 in the 9th over.

A mature 61-run partnership between Usman Khawaja (65 off 43 balls) and O'Keefe (50 off 38) then steadied the innings and helped them reach a very respectable 7 for 168.

The Bushrangers looked to be cruising in the chase at 1 for 100 in the 12th over when Finch (53 off 37) decided to get a move on in the hope of improving the hosts abysmal net run-rate, but was fortuitously stumped by Dan Smith off the bowling of Man of the Match O'Keefe - the keeper fumbling the ball back onto the stumps.

Brad Hodge (22 off 21) fell two balls later, lbw to a nice slider from O'Keefe before captain Andrew McDonald fell cheaply to Scott Coyte the next over, exposing the Bushrangers' young middle order.

From there, the hosts never looked like making the runs with teenagers Sean Abbott (2 for 25) and Patrick Cummins (1 for 27) sealing an impressive win away from home - the Bushrangers' first Big Bash loss at the MCG.

O'Keefe will feel he is an outside chance of a World Cup call-up, depending on the fitness of Nathan Hauritz, who dislocated his shoulder in Australia's win over England in the second ODI at the Bellerive Oval.

Victoria is now out of the competition, sitting at the foot of the table with just one win. The Blues on the other hand, will face Queensland twice in five days as the two teams fight for third place behind South Australia and Tasmania.

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