Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/2/21/ahmed-spins-bushrangers-to-victory

Ahmed spins Bushrangers to victory

UPDATED 22 February, 2013 9:43AM AEST | by Robert Somers at the MCG, Omnisport

Emerging leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed has bowled Victoria to a crushing outright win over Queensland that has sent the Bushrangers to the top of the Bupa Sheffield Shield table.

First-gamer Ahmed snared 5-83 on Thursday, to finish with seven wickets in the match, as the Bulls were bowled out for 249, leaving the Vics to polish off the 36 runs needed to seal a vital six points.

There was one final twist, with Victoria forced to treat the run chase as a Twenty 20 match because of the threat of a thunderstorm.

Rob Quiney (three) and David Hussey (one) both lost their wickets amid the late panic but Will Sheridan (10 not out) and Cameron White (19 not out) safely delivered the eight-wicket victory as the hosts ended up on 2-36.

Queensland resumed on day four at 0-60 but lost 3-3 in a mid-morning collapse led by 33-year-old Ahmed.

The former Pakistan refugee dismissed Greg Moller (43) and first-innings centurion Peter Forrest (zero) in the same over before Chris Hartley (35) and Dominic Michael (41) steadied the Bulls' innings with a 74-run partnership.

But Ahmed struck again in the middle session when Hartley's top edge ballooned to mid-off where Michael Hill held his nerve to take an excellent diving catch.

Queensland skipper James Hopes (two) became Ahmed's fourth victim, edging to wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb to leave the Bulls, a batsman short with injured Michael Gale out of the match, staring at defeat.

It was left to pacemen Clint McKay (2-62) and Scott Boland (2-22) to dismantle the tail with Nathan Hauritz providing the most resistance.

The number nine worked his way to 29 before edging McKay to Hussey in the slips.

Another lethal Ahmed wrong 'un brought the visitors' innings to end, with tailender Ronan McDonald (11) cleaned bowled.

Victoria's other debut spinner Clive Rose was given just six overs and finished with 0-12 after capturing 3-52 on day one.

Queensland entered the match equal-first with the Vics on 22 points but have now slipped to third following South Australia's outright win over New South Wales on Thursday.

Victoria set up the win with a mammoth first innings of 536 across days two and three, highlighted by centuries from Chris Rogers, Hill and White.

Ahmed claimed 2-79 in Queensland's first-innings score of 322 and didn't concede a single wide or no ball across his 58 overs in the match.

He becomes the third Sheffield Shield debutant to claim a five-wicket haul in a single innings in 52 years, though he had played 10 first-class matches in Pakistan.

Fawad's rise through the ranks in Australian cricket started in 2010 when he moved to Melbourne to escape death threats in his native country.

Now there is speculation he could become Australia's next spinner.

He was granted permanent residency on January 29 this year but, under International Cricket Council rules, can only play for Australia if he's granted citizenship under special circumstances.

The Bulls are still in the hunt for a berth in next month's final, but need outright wins against Tasmania and Western Australia to give themselves the best chance.

The Bushrangers and Bulls will meet again at the MCG next Wednesday for the Ryobi Cup decider.

Match scorecard:

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 21 February, 2013 6:17PM AEST

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