Blues claim thrilling Big Bash title
The SpeedBlitz Blues have finally ended Victoria's stranglehold on the domestic Twenty20 competition, recording a thrilling five-wicket victory.
The SpeedBlitz Blues have finally ended Victoria's stranglehold on the domestic Twenty20 competition, recording a thrilling five-wicket victory on the final ball to steal the title in the final at ANZ Stadium.
With scores level and NSW needing one run off the final delivery, Ben Rohrer failed to get bat on ball but scampered through for a single as the Blues reached 5-167 in response to Victoria's 4-166.
The home side still had to wait for a third umpire decision as Shane Harwood hit the stumps, but Rohrer had got safely home to end three years of Victorian domination of the shortest form of the game.
The Bushrangers had won all three Twenty20 tournaments held to date, but missed a fourth straight crown by the smallest of margins.
Man-of-the-match Rohrer was the hero for the Blues, coming to the crease with his side falling behind the run rate and smashing an unbeaten 44 from 20 deliveries.
Needing 31 runs off the final three overs and then 10 off the last over for victory, Rohrer and Dominic Thornely (27 off 24 balls) got the task down to two runs off three balls before the latter was clean-bowled by Harwood.
That brought Daniel Smith to the crease and he managed to get a single to put Rohrer on strike and he then just got the single the Blues needed.
After winning the toss and batting, Rob Quiney smashed 91 from 56 balls as Victoria made 4-166.
Victoria's effort was admirable, particularly as Cricket Australia had refused to release their captain Cameron White from national duties for the final, while in-form opener Brad Hodge was absent with a hamstring injury.
Somewhat predictably, the Brendon McCullum experiment ended in a whimper, the New Zealander walking after feathering an edge off Harwood to wicketkeeper Adam Crosthwaite for just 10 from 11 balls.
The Blues had caused a stir earlier in the week after controversially signing the big-hitting McCullum for the final to shore up their batting stocks.
McCullum partnered Phil Hughes at the top of the order as the young Australian made a welcome return from a hip injury.
While McCullum didn't survive for long, Hughes quickly showed the class that has him in the frame to replace Matthew Hayden in the Australian side, stroking two boundaries in the opening over.
McCullum's dismissal brought Simon Katich to the crease and the NSW skipper put on 60 from 44 balls with Hughes before Dirk Nannes clean-bowled the 20-year-old for 43.
Bryce McGain then picked up two quick wickets as NSW slumped to 4-92 in the 13th over.
But the Blues were just able to get the runs they needed in an incredible finish in front of more than 17,000 fans.
Both sides have already qualified for the inaugural Champions League in India later this year, where they will compete for a first prize of $US3 million ($A4.57 million).