Qld welcome back big guns for final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld welcome back big guns for final

19/02/2007 07:57:00 PM Comments (0)

Struggling Queensland will be bolstered by the return of Australian trio Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson for Sunday's Ford Ranger Cup final against Victoria.

The international trio plus injured all-rounder James Hopes (thigh) were selected for the MCG decider in a significant boost to the Bulls chances of ending their one-day final curse.

Queensland last won the domestic limited-overs title in 1997-98 but have since lost four finals.

While Queensland has stumbled into the decider with some below-par post-Christmas form, the Bushrangers have hit top gear to grab hosting rights with Saturday's bonus-point win over Tasmania.

The inclusion of Hayden, Watson, Johnson and Hopes - at the expense of Ryan Broad, Michael Buchanan, Scott Brant and Nathan Reardon - adds far more starch to the Queensland batting order.

The final gives all-rounder Watson and left-arm quick Johnson, both expensive in the Chappell-Hadlee series, important chances to strike form before leaving for the World Cup.

Opener Hayden, skipper Jimmy Maher and pace spearhead Andy Bichel are the only survivors from the 1997-98 team which defeated NSW by two wickets at the SCG.

Queensland: Jimmy Maher (capt), Matthew Hayden, James Hopes, Shane Watson, Clinton Perren, Aaron Nye, Craig Philipson, Chris Simpson, Chris Hartley, Andy Bichel, Mitchell Johnson, Ashley Noffke (12th man to be named).

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