Queensland v Tasmania, FR Cup, Brisbane October 11, 2006

Hayden and Maher brush aside Tasmania

Cricinfo staff

Queensland 1 for 173 (Hayden 91, Maher 69*) beat Tasmania 172 (Doherty 53, Noffke 3-30) by nine wickets

The debutant Nathan Rimmington removes Dan Marsh as Queensland start their season with an impressive victory © Getty Images
Matthew Hayden and Jimmy Maher flayed the Tasmanian bowlers as Queensland launched the domestic season in style with a commanding nine-wicket victory in the new Ford Ranger Cup. Their position had been set up by an incisive three-wicket burst from Ashley Noffke as Tasmania's top order crashed in helpful conditions at the Gabba.

However, Hayden and Maher made batting appear a much more comfortable prospect after a watchful start against the new ball and guided the side to a bonus-point victory. Both openers slowly expanded their strokeplay as Tasmania's limited bowling resources were exposed. Hayden twice cleared the ropes, but attempting a third - needing nine for a century and nine for the win - he was well caught at long on.

Three early wickets to Noffke handed Queensland the perfect start in a contest that marked the first time Fox Sports had screened a domestic match live. An early conclusion was on the cards as Tasmania crumbled, but a resolute stand of 82 between Xavier Doherty and Luke Butterworth at least gave the score some respectability.

Travis Birt (0) left to an edge in the first over from Noffke before the bowler benefited from a horrible attempted pull by Michael Di Venuto (5). Noffke then produced a sharp-lifting delivery to George Bailey that gave the wicketkeeper Chris Hartley a juggling catch. When Andy Bichel, who later suffered a hip injury and is in doubt for the Pura Cup contest on Friday, forced another reckless shot, this time from Michael Bevan on zero, Tasmania were gasping at 4 for 22.

Further bowling pressure from James Hopes, who dismissed Tim Paine thanks to a thrilling diving catch from Bichel at fine leg, and Nathan Rimmington, who made his debut memorable by brushing Dan Marsh's edge on 26, reduced the Tigers to 6 for 69 in the 26th over. The scenario forced Doherty to work hard for a career-best 53 and he received valuable support from Butterworth's 36.

Queensland were in no mood to let Tasmania back into the match. Maher, who became the first batsman to pass 4000 runs in the competition with his 69 not out, and Hayden eased through the gears, laying down an early marker for the Bulls in a season where they are expected to challenge on all fronts.