Blues grab win at the Gabba
Dynamic Phillip Hughes slapped down further evidence last night to suggest he will become an Australian batsman of the not too distant duture.
The 20-year-old piloted NSW to a thrilling Twenty20 win against Queensland at the Gabba with a cool, classy 80 not out off 59 balls that enabled the Blues (5-163) to pass Queensland's (7-161) with two balls to spare before 10,514 fans.
The Blues needed four for victory off the last over bowled by Nathan Rimmington who conceded a short-pitched no-ball when the Blues needed one from their final two balls.
As the victory-clinching no-ball was being called, Hughes, making his interstate Twenty20 debut, was already scampering through for the third cheeky bye off the over.
It wasn't quite death by a 100 cuts for Queensland but it was close to it as Hughes skilfully scored more than half of his runs behind point with all manner of cuts and squirts and soft wristed deflections, some off middle stump.
Though Twenty20 results are not taken overly seriously by the national selectors every innings is important for Hughes as he duels with Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques and Chris Rogers for an opening berth on next year's Ashes tour.
Hughes never quite seemed to be in the big hurry his scoring rate suggested as he efficiently dissected the Bulls attack.
Though he lost opener partner Dave Warner (8) early to a stunning one-handed catch by Glen Batticciotto, it did not unsettled him. Earlier, Queensland captain Chris Simpson claimed a measure of the batting form that has deserted him this summer with a robust 39 off 24 balls.
He was just starting to score runs at will when he slotted Moises Henriques to Doug Bollinger at deep midwicket.
The Bulls' propects of soaring to a super-charged total were undermined early when Bollinger took three wickets with his bouncy left-armers. Bollinger's 3-22 from four overs took the early sting out of the home side and they never quite got it back. James Hopes (6), so often the rocket launcher for the Bulls, fell early when he lifted a ball from Bollinger to third man.
Another power hitter, Nathan Reardon, who some feel has initernational potential in this form of the game, showed why with some mighty swipes including a pulled six off Mark Cameron that cleared the rope by 20 metres.
Reardon raced to 27 off 15 before a ball he bunted from Henriques spun back and hit the stumps, eluding his effort to swipe it away after he spotted danger.