Early start may prompt change of tactics in final

There will be an early start to the one-day final between Queensland and Western Australia on Sunday. The match will begin at 11 pm GMT (Saturday). The early moisture and humidity will present the bowlers with the opportunity to make an early assault on the opposition.

However, the wicket at the Gabba was rated by Kevin Mitchell Jnr, the curator, as good for batting, and is the same pitch where Queensland smashed their way to 4 for 405 against Western Australia a fortnight ago. Considering this, neither captain - Jimmy Maher nor Michael Hussey - thought that the toss would be the deciding factor.

Maher, who belted a record 187 in that 207-run demolition of WA, believed that plenty of runs would be plundered despite the early start. "The Gabba is arguably the best one-day wicket in the world," he said. "The toss doesn't really matter too much, but the thing that sticks out the most in my mind is that we've had most success batting first this season."

WA have the talented Ben Edmondson in their ranks, and he is set to be given the new ball for the first time. Hussey conceded that WA would consider bowling first.

The decision is tougher for WA as their batting, including five national or A representatives, is their strength and, barring the Brisbane pounding, they have had success chasing large totals. Hussey said, "We don't want to chase 400 again but I personally don't believe the toss should have much to with the result at the end."

WA took confidence from New South Wales' three-year run as one-day champions, where they won all three finals away from home. Coincidentally, WA's last domestic success was also away from home - at the Gabba - in the 1998-99 Sheffield Shield.

Maher shrugged off a hamstring injury on the eve of the final, training strongly in the nets and out on the field. WA have learnt from experience that Maher can be a dangerous proposition. In that match at Brisbane earlier this season, Hussey - who was dismissed by a sharp Maher catch in the covers - was astounded by Maher's recuperative powers: "Look at him. He drinks, he smokes and he's out there running around like a three-year-old!"