Queensland 268 (Labuschagne 87, Bryant 64, Stoinis 4-50) beat Western Australia 242 (Marsh 85, Bancroft 72, Neser 3-37) by 26 runs
A spectacular collapse from Western Australia has handed Queensland top spot on the Marsh Cup table.
Chasing 268 for victory on a drop-in surface at Metricon Stadium, WA were cruising at 3 for 218 needing 51 from 40 balls with seven wickets in hand. Shaun Marsh and Cameron Bancroft had shared a partnership of 152 before Marsh holed out in the 39th over for 89. But Marcus Stoinis joined Bancroft and the chase appeared under control before Bancroft also holed out recklessly in the deep for 72 to spark a stunning downslide.
WA lost 7 for 24 in 28 balls. Hilton Cartwright was run out after Stoinis created a mix up with a yes-no call in the 46th over. Nathan Coulter-Nile chipped the next ball to mid-off to put WA in all sorts of trouble. Stoinis had faced 13 dot balls in his innings of 23 off 29. He picked out Usman Khawaja at cover with a drive struck at catchable height off Michael Neser in the 47th and the game was all but gone.
Neser and Mark Steketee took the last three wickets between them in six balls to leave WA bowled out 26 runs short with 11 deliveries left.
Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne continued his outstanding form with 87 from 89 balls to underpin Queensland's total of 268 on a surface that required patience.
He entered behind a brilliant platform set by Max Bryant. The youngster smacked eight fours and a six in his 64 from 51 balls during a 97-run opening stand with Khawaja.
The innings stalled a touch when Bryant fell, with the Bulls losing 3 for 15. Khawaja was caught behind for a scratchy 31 and then a mix-up between Joe Burns and Labuschagne left Burns stranded, and out for 1.
Labuschagne got good support from debutant Bryce Street. Boundaries weren't easy to come by but the pair accumulated well to set the Bulls up for a competitive total. Neser and Ben Cutting were able to capitalise with some excellent late hitting to lift the total to 268 after Labuschagne holed out in the deep with 14 balls remaining in the innings. Stoinis finished with 4 for 50, claiming three wickets in the final over of the innings.
With the result, Queensland leapfrogged WA to reclaim the top spot on the table with three rounds remaining.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne