Quiney belts Blues into submission
Victoria 4 for 260 (Quiney 89*, Hussey 80, Klinger 51) beat New South Wales 7 for 259 (Hughes 68, Katich 58, Nannes 3-28) by six wickets
Rob Quiney and David Hussey made the star-studded New South Wales attack look pedestrian, driving Victoria to a six-wicket win with 23 balls to spare and consigning the Blues to their 11th straight match without a victory. Hussey initially anchored the chase of 260 but Quiney was the entertainer, using the batting powerplay brilliantly to post the fastest domestic one-day half-century of the summer.
Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clark - three members of Australia's triumphant World Cup squad - had trouble stopping the runs until Hussey jammed a catch to Brad Haddin off Bracken for 80. But the partnership had already netted 103 from 70 balls and the Blues leaked 60 when the pair used its powerplay beginning in the 35th over.
Facing Lee for the first time, Quiney took a liking to Australia's new spearhead, hooking him fine for four when the field came in and following with a casual flick over midwicket for four more. Even when the field went out Quiney still enjoyed using Lee's speed, swiveling for a pair of superb pulls behind square when Lee dropped short.
He also picked boundaries off Clark and Bracken but he saved his sixes for the spinners, including a huge effort over long on from Nathan Hauritz. He had raced to his fifty from 33 balls but ran out of runs to earn his century, finishing unbeaten on 89 from 57 deliveries.
Hussey built gradually after coming to the crease at 2 for 32, although when he attacked he did it with style. He got on the front foot against Clark and pulled him in front of square for six and, like Quiney, enjoyed using Lee's pace against him.
While the Blues attack was at full strength they were battered about in the field. Matthew Mott, the coach, had to act as 13th man briefly and Phillip Hughes on debut filled in for nine overs behind the stumps. Haddin took a bloody blow to the face when a Hauritz offspinner kicked sharply off the pitch and he needed five stitches above his right eye before returning to his position.
That Hughes volunteered to be the acting gloveman was a good sign for the Blues after he continued to look far more mature than his 18 years with a controlled 68 opening. Fresh from 51 at the top of the order on his Pura Cup debut, Hughes compiled his 89-ball innings with a minimum of fuss. His risks were few but he displayed a good eye, striking Bryce McGain for two sixes down the ground, one of which crashed heavily into the sightscreen.
Simon Katich contributed 58 and Dominic Thornely made 49 but Dirk Nannes kept slowing the team's progress, finishing with 3 for 28. Thornely made use of a life on 17 when he skied to deep extra cover, where Nannes spent too much time making ground and not enough time thinking about how to take the catch, spilling an attempted AFL-style chest mark.
The next over Thornely made Victoria pay by striking Hussey back over his head for a six and a four. But Hussey's revenge came as he, like Nannes, seemingly forgot which sport he was playing. Having rattled up 49 from 40 balls, Thornely launched Brad Hodge to long on where Hussey ran across and casually stuck up his right hand like a baseball outfielder, pulling in the catch with both feet off the ground.
The regular wickets kept pulling back the Blues' momentum and they needed more than their 7 for 259 after choosing to bat. The loss means New South Wales have not won a one-day game for more than a year, even though they sit on top of the Pura Cup table.
Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo