Fit Stevens boosts Bulls for ING Cup final
Lachlan Stevens, the Queensland allrounder, has been passed fit for the biggest game of his career against Tasmania in the ING Cup final at the Gabba on Sunday. Stevens strained a calf muscle playing grade cricket for University of Queensland last weekend, but trained without difficulty yesterday and was given the all-clear for his second match.
Making his debut a week ago as Matthew Hayden's late replacement, Stevens scored 8 and took 0 for 14 in the loss to Western Australia, but Terry Oliver, the Bulls coach, said he would be better prepared this time. "Considering he came to work at the Centre of Excellence last Friday and ended up making his debut at the Gabba that night, it was fair enough," he said. "We were always confident he was going to be fine but the way he handled yesterday's net session and, more importantly, the way he pulled up today, was the clincher for us."
Martin Love will miss the match but is set to return in grade cricket from a hand injury in the hope of proving his fitness for the Pura Cup match against South Australia starting on Thursday. Tasmania have sprung one surprise for the final by naming Jamie Cox as 13th man to provide dressing-room experience as they chase their first domestic trophy since 1978-79.
Queensland, who lost the final last year, finished on top of competition with seven wins and were nine points ahead of Tasmania after the ten preliminary matches. Sunday's winner will receive the $100,000 Waterford Crystal ING Cup trophy and a cheque for $75,000, while the runners-up will be handed $40,000.
Queensland Jimmy Maher (capt), Lachlan Stevens, Clinton Perren, Craig Philipson, Aaron Nye, Brendan Nash, Wade Seccombe (wk), Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke, Nathan Hauritz, Mitchell Johnson, Daniel Payne.
Tasmania Daniel Marsh (capt), Michael Di Venuto, George Bailey, Michael Bevan, Travis Birt, Luke Butterworth, Michael Dighton (wk), Xavier Doherty, Brett Geeves, Adam Griffith, Scott Kremerskothen, Damien Wright, Jamie Cox.