Hopes carries Queensland to easy win
Queensland 2 for 124 (Hopes 62*, Lumb 40) beat New South Wales 120 (Thornely 34, Laughlin 3-25, Simpson 2-8) by eight wickets
New South Wales Blues crumbled to an eight-wicket loss to Queensland Bulls in Sydney, failing in their bid to host the Big Bash preliminary final. The Blues now have to travel to the Bellerive Oval to face Tasmania Tigers on Tuesday.
The tone for the match was set off the very first ball when James Hopes bowled Usman Khawaja, the recent Test debutant, who chopped a pull back onto his stumps.
After David Warner and Daniel Smith fell cheaply, it appeared that Phil Jaques and Moises Henriques were steadying the ship, before Luke Feldman ran Henriques out from the boundary, his direct hit catching the batsman just short.
Ben Laughlin (3 for 25) and Chris Simpson (2 for 8) ripped through the hosts, with only Dominic Thornely offering any resistance in the lower order as the Blues stumbled to 120.
Bulls never looked in any danger in the chase, Hopes (62 off 38) and Michael Lumb (40 off 26) taking to the Blues' inexperienced bowling attack in the Powerplay that yielded 66. Hopes saw the visitors home with a massive 37 balls to spare.
The preliminary final will be played on February 1 in Hobart between the Tigers and the Bulls, with the winner earning the right to face South Australia at the Adelaide Oval on February 5 in the final.
Andrew Fuss is a freelance writer based in Adelaide