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October 27, 2013
Queensland 5 for 319 (Khawaja 104, Hartley 78, Lynn 58*, Cutting 41*) beat New South Wales 6 for 317 (Maddinson 76, Nevill 70, Smith 61, Hopes 3-64) by five wickets
Ben Cutting and Chris Lynn had the final, powerful say as Queensland showed the resilience for which they are now renowned to run down New South Wales and retain the domestic limited overs title in a pounding match at North Sydney Oval.
The knowledge that the Bulls had pyrotechnic hitting in middle order reserve kept the Blues captain Steven Smith nervous throughout the afternoon, and it was to be Cutting who reprised his earlier destruction of Victoria to ensure victory.
The final brought an end to a truncated, tournament-styled battle for the 50-over garlands, but the victors were the same side who had won earlier this year. Queensland's ability to overcome the loss of their coach Darren Lehmann to the national job and also rebound from the disadvantage of a late start due to the imposition of the Twenty20 Champions League in India spoke volumes for a team and a state lacking all the advantages of home and hearth enjoyed by the Blues. Their new coach Stuart Law can rightly be proud.
He owed much not only to Cutting and Lynn but also Usman Khawaja and Chris Hartley, architects of an opening stand of 165 that ensured the Bulls would have wickets in hand when the required rate surged towards 12 an over. They saw off most of the overs bowled by Nathan Lyon, who was once again the Blues primary bowling threat on a surface taking some spin, and Khawaja's smooth innings at the end of an encouraging three weeks earned him the Player-of-the-Match award.
No NSW batsman had been able to go on to three figures earlier in the day, a significant difference as the momentum of the innings was momentarily stalled when each well-set batsman succumbed. David Warner's run of three centuries did not continue, he and Smith both perishing to Ryan Harris, while Peter Nevill and Nic Maddinson failed to go beyond the 70s.
Nevertheless, the Blues would have fancied their chances of defending 317 in the afternoon, having grown steadily in form and confidence across the competition. Their attempts to gain early wickets would be stymied by Khawaja and Hartley however, and the mounting requirement for runs per over was not of major concern to the visitors provided those wickets remained in the bank.
No great pressure could be exerted by the Blues until new batsmen began to emerge from the players' tunnel at North Sydney, but Khawaja did not exit before crafting a hundred of composure and class. For the second time in the tournament, he perished to Lyon's flight, causing Sydney spectators to perk up for the first time since the innings began.
Greg Moller did not last long, and Hartley's measured innings was ended by an outstanding delivery from Sean Abbott, angled in from around the wicket then straightening to spread the stumps. Nathan Reardon and Jason Floros also perished in the chase, and at 5 for 257 with 40 balls remaining some bold strikes were required.
Cutting and Lynn did not panic, allowing the equation to drift out to 47 for the final four overs before launching their assault. Josh Hazlewood went for 19 in the 47th over and then 17 in the 49th, Cutting putting the result more or less beyond doubt by clumping the fifth and sixth balls well over the fence. The second of these shots, a steel-wristed straight hit, recalled no-one so much as MS Dhoni.
Left with only five to make from the final over, Lynn joyously belted Gurinder Sandhu's first over beyond the fence, the Doug Walters mound and the ground itself, the ball rolling away into the parklands surrounding the oval as the Bulls careered onto the ground to celebrate a deserved triumph.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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