Harwood injury restricts Victoria's final push

Victoria's hopes of catapulting into the Pura Cup final have suffered a setback with Shane Harwood, the fast bowler, ruled out with a buttock strain for the game against Queensland at the Gabba on Thursday. The Bushrangers, who must win outright to stay in contention for the decider, also made a handful of changes with Lloyd Mash, the opener, and Darren Pattinson dropped from the squad.

Clinton McKay and Grant Lindsay were promoted while Dirk Nannes, whose last game was the 2005-06 Pura Cup final, came in for Harwood. "Not having Shane there is a blow, but there's a new set of challenges for us," Greg Shipperd, the coach, said on the team's website. "We know what we must do: win outright and if we do we can still be in the final."

The Bushrangers and Western Australia, who have 24 points, need to leap past New South Wales (28), who can seal a spot by beating the leaders Tasmania (32) in Hobart. Queensland's chances of a ninth consecutive final ended with the draw in Sydney on Sunday, but they will have Andy Bichel back for their last game of the season.

Bichel's foot infection has healed and he swaps places with James Hopes, who has a hip injury. "James was pretty courageous in the way he bowled and fielded during the SCG game despite being in a fair bit of pain," Terry Oliver, the Queensland coach, said. "But if an injury happened in the World Cup, then all indications are that he would be right to be considered."

Queensland squad Jimmy Maher (capt), Ryan Broad, Greg Moller, Clinton Perren, Craig Philipson, Aaron Nye, Chris Hartley (wk), Chris Simpson, Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke, Daniel Doran, Grant Sullivan.

Victoria squad Nick Jewell, Robert Quiney, Michael Klinger, David Hussey, Cameron White (capt), Andrew McDonald, Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Grant Lindsay, Bryce McGain, Peter Siddle, Clint McKay, Dirk Nannes.