Warriors fail to fire, Bulls advance to finals
The Queensland Bulls sealed a place in next weeks Big Bash Preliminary Final against the Victorian Bushrangers after a 37 run victory over the Retravision Warriors at the Gabba.
Faced with a mammoth total of 204 to chase the Warriors big hitters failed to fire thanks to good bowling and fielding by the hosts. With Chris Gayle and Shaun Marsh opening for the Warriors the Bulls knew they would be under pressure to get early wickets to distrupt the vistors.
Gayle got off to a good start, showing no side effects of the injury which kept him out of the Warriors last 3 games as he smashed 2 fours and a huge six inside the first three overs.
The Warriors had started off well and when Glen Batticciotto dropped Gayle they must have thought it was to be there night. Queenslander Nathan Rimmington had other ideas though, striking 3 balls later to bowl Marsh for 12.
The Bulls struck again as Gayle was then dismissed in bizarre style after hitting his own stump to leave the Warriors 31-2 and in deep trouble.
With the run rate increasing Wes Robinson started the recovery for the Warriors but even though he scored 51 it wasn't enough as wicket fell at regular intervals putting the Bulls firmly on top.
Luke Ronchi remaied at the crease for the Warriors but the damage had already been done by the Bulls.
Earlier, the Bulls won the toss and elected to bat first with captain Chris Simpson wanting to set a big total to put the Warriors under pressure during their run chase.
His plan didn't start to well as the Warriors struck in the first over removing James Hopes who was caught by wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi off the bowling of Michael Hogan for just 1.
The Bulls then enjoyed a partnership of 41 between Simpson and Lee Carseldine which delighted the Gabba crowd as Simpson smashed 36 runs from just 14 balls with Carseldine watching at the non strikers end.
During Simpsons blitz Carseldine faced just 3 balls scoring 5 runs before he was caught by Shaun Marsh in the gully off the bowling of Brad Knowels in the third over.
Knowels then sensationally removed Andrew Symonds with the very next ball to leave the Bulls 44-3 and in danger of falling apart after such a good start.
Despite the wickets falling around him Simpson carried on his blitz to keep the Bulls on on course for a big total. he finally ran out of luck when he was brilliantly stumped by Ronchi for 76.
Simpson tried to slog sweep Aaron Heal but the flight of the ball deceived him. He managed to get his bat back into the crease but at the all important moment when the bails came of the wickets his bat briefly bounced up into the air forcing the TV umpire to give him out.
With ten overs gone the Bulls were 95-4 but they were still on course for a total of 170 - 180 if they could manage to build a good partnership in the second half of their innings.
Glen Batticciotto (12) and Chris Lynn (5) didn't stay at the crease for to long to help the Bulls but Craig Philipson and Ben Dunk came to the rescue with a partnership of 57 from just 27 balls before Dunk (27) was caught by Marsh to give Noffke his first wicket of the night.
With Dunk gone Philipson was joined by Ben Cutting and the pair smashed 28 from just 11 balls to help set the Warriors 204 to chase for victory.