Queensland 5 for 363 (Heazlett 83, Burns 80*, Mennie 2-72, Valente 2-77) beat South Australia 334 (Ferguson 101, Weatherald 69, Kuhnemann 3-60, Swepson 3-64) by 24 runs (DLS method)
A sublime century from South Australia's Callum Ferguson was not enough as Queensland won the first qualifying final at North Sydney Oval to qualify for the semi-finals of the JLT Cup despite finishing last in the round-robin part of the competition.
Under the revamped rules in Australia's domestic one-day competition, all six teams advanced to the knock-out stage after playing each other once in a round-robin phase.
The Bulls won just one game in five and finished four points behind South Australia on the table.
However, they piled on 5 for 363 after losing the toss on Wednesday, courtesy a superb team batting display, and were then able to defend well enough on the small ground. The spin duo of Matthew Kuhnemann and Mitchell Swepson took six important scalps between them to bowl out the Redbacks for 334, 25 runs short of a revised DLS target of 359 after one over was lost to rain.
The Bulls' mammoth total looked like a par score as Redbacks opener Jake Weatherald set the chase alight with a blistering 69 from 54 balls. He sent the express pace of Billy Stanlake to all parts and his opening stand with debutant Conor McInerney reached 86 in just 11 overs.
The left-arm orthodox spin of Kuhnemann was introduced and he changed the game immediately by removing McInerney and conceding just three runs in his opening over. He forced Weatherald to hole out to long-on four overs later and asked the Redbacks to rebuild.
Ferguson continued his supreme form and got good support from Jake Lehmann, Tom Cooper and Alex Carey. But all three failed to convert their starts with Swepson and Kuhnemann claiming the trio, leaving Ferguson to get 64 runs from 44 balls with the tail. He reached his hundred off just 78 balls but sliced a catch to deep point off Mark Steketee in the next over to dash the Redbacks' hopes.
Earlier, Sam Heazlett set up the Bulls' monstrous total with a blazing 83 off just 59 balls at the top of the order. He struck nine fours and five sixes, including taking 22 from one Kane Richardson over, before finally mis-hitting one. Ferguson held on to the awkward skier, running back at mid-off.
Chris Lynn again made a slow start just as he did during his brilliant century against New South Wales. He was 9 off 29 balls at one stage before he cleared the fence for the first time. He struck two more sixes to go with seven fours in his 68 before falling to Cameron Valente.
The Bulls now face Tasmania in the first semi-final on Saturday at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth