Victoria v Queensland, FR Cup final February 25, 2007

'Nye turned the game for us' - Maher



Queensland kept removing Victoria's most dangerous batsmen © Getty Images

Victoria's reputation as first-class chasers failed them in the match that mattered but it was still nagging at Jimmy Maher close to the end. A disappointing start for the Bushrangers left them with a heavy workload in the final overs and when Queensland removed David Hussey from the equation, the home team needed 75 off 49 balls.

Maher said it was only then that he began to calm down - and then only slightly. "Hussey was always the danger man," Maher said. "I thought if we could get him and White, as soon as they were out that was the only time I was going to relax."

The dismissals of Hussey for 62 and White for a disappointing 8 from 16 deliveries became the biggest feathers in the cap of Aaron Nye in his short eight-game career for Queensland. Nye, an allrounder who until the final had bowled only two overs of offspin in one-day matches, finished with 3 for 55 after he had White caught on the boundary and Hussey caught at cover.

Maher said there was never a plan for Nye, the sixth bowler used, to rattle through his full ten overs but his efforts continued to impress. "Every time I went to take him off he bowled a good over," Maher said. "He still went for 55 and would have been disappointed a couple of times when he put balls in the slot and Hussey hit them out of the ground but he picked up the crucial wicket of White and that really was the turning point in the game for us."

He said the events leading up to the final, where he blasted the Australia camp for banning its World Cup players from the domestic match, had not distracted the side. "We said what we felt and then we put a full-stop around it and got on worrying about playing the final," Maher said. "Nothing was going to change. We aired our view and got our anger off our chests and that was it."

White said Victoria should have been able to chase 275 on their home ground but they let also themselves down in the early overs of Queensland's innings by failing to break into the middle order. Jon Moss played but brought a thigh strain into the match, meaning he could not bowl and White said that had not helped their cause.

"He's bowled pretty well for us during this year," White said. "He doesn't often go for more than four an over so maybe those overs in the middle might have been really handy."

The loss completed a difficult fortnight for White, who was omitted from the World Cup squad and then was part of the Australia team that got crunched by New Zealand 3-0 in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. He now has three days to regroup and start a new month fresh for Victoria's crucial Pura Cup match against Western Australia starting on March 1.

Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant of Cricinfo