McDonald leads Bushrangers to easy win
Victoria made an impressive start to its Twenty20 title defence with a 47-run victory over Queensland at Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville yesterday.
Set a target of 188 for victory, Queensland's middle order failed to fire and the Bulls were dismissed for just 140 with three balls left in their 20 overs.
Queensland skipper Jimmy Maher led the Bulls' run chase with a solid 44 off 35 balls, former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson scored a frenetic 16 off 10 balls and Michael Kasprowicz added a rearguard 20 but by then it was too late.
The Bulls had lost five wickets for just 23 runs midway through their innings to end all hope of chasing down the Victorians' competitive total.
Victorian Andrew McDonald claimed man-of-the-match honours after top-scoring for the Bushrangers with 43 runs (off 28 balls) and then starring with the ball to take 3-20 off his four overs, including the prized scalp of Maher.
After winning the toss and electing to bat the reigning Twenty20 domestic champion made good use of the pitch to post 7-187 off its 20 overs.
McDonald and Adam Crosthwaite (31 not out) were the best of the batsmen while bowler Shane Harwood added 16 runs off just eight deliveries.
Queenslander Watson made a solid contribution with the ball, his 2-31 from four overs the best of the Bulls' bowlers in a dominant Victorian innings.
Watson had provided some hope of a successful run chase but his innings ended with a brilliant Aiden Blizzard run out and Maher followed him to the pavilion soon after.
Victorian destroyer McDonald believed the platform for victory was laid in a solid team performance.
"The win was important to get off to a good start," McDonald said.
"Our bowlers have done a fantastic job over a period of time and the batters all contributed but I think fielding makes a hell of a difference.
"The partnerships are the key, you don't want to lose back to back wickets so that's our game plan and it's something we pride ourselves on."
Maher believed his side conceded too many runs and didn't maintain partnerships through the middle order.
"We cost ourselves between 10 and 20 runs in the field and then probably didn't bowl as well as we could of," Maher said. "We got off to a good start at 1-50 from seven overs but we lost too many consecutive wickets and it is hard to come back from that."
Despite the loss Maher remained upbeat about Queensland's chances in the two-week competition.
"A lot of improving to do but still confident we can make a real charge in this competition," Maher said of the Bulls.
"We have definitely got the team and the calibre of players to do it is just a matter of working hard at every aspect of the game."