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http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/3/21/tasmania-and-queensland-go-head-to-head-in-the-sheffield-shield-final

Tasmania and Queensland go head to head in the Sheffield Shield final

UPDATED 21 March, 2013 3:14PM AEST | by DingoGray, fan author for The Roar

Friday brings us to the end of Australian cricketing summer with the final of the Sheffield Shield when the Tasmanian Tigers host the Queensland Bulls.

The Bulls are attempting to make it a clean sweep of the Australia domestic scene in 2012/13 after managing to snatch victory from Victoria in the One-Day final in a fantastic finish.

This season also saw The Brisbane Heat franchise travel to Western Australia and beat the Perth Scorchers to win the second year of the Big Bash League.

Coach Darren Lehmann has given the players the freedom to express themselves, and they have responded, giving themselves the chance to have a perfect season.

However, it does appear the odds are against them, coming up against a Tasmanian side in tremendous form. Tassie will be hell-bent on ensuring a winning sendoff from First Class cricket for Ricky Ponting.

Tasmania have been well lead by Ponting and the recent form of Ben Hilfenhaus, a man who is trying to prove himself worthy of seat on the plane to England, and will start short priced favourites with the bookies.

As the hosts, they require only a draw to capture the Shield, and so will be looking for their top order, including senior members Mark Cosgrove, George Bailey and Ponting to fire.

Young guns Jordan Silk and Alex Doolan will look to continue their push for higher honours by contributing to a strong first innings score to make things difficult for Queensland.

Tasmania will also rely heavily on their pace attack in the quest for Shield Glory. Their unit made up of Luke Butterworth, Evan Gulbis, James Faulkner and Hilfenhaus has been performing tremendously level this campaign, and always manages to find a little bit extra on the home turf.

Friday’s pitch is sure to provide assistance for the Tigers attack.

The hosts go into the game missing Jackson Bird and Xavier Doherty, however they look to have the depth to cover their absence, especially Doherty who has not had much of an impact during this season.

As for Queensland, they are a state that have always thrived when they are underdogs, and they will enter this contest as longshots.

The Bulls are missing quite a large number of their squad due to injuries and unavailability, including Usman Khawaja (national duties), Alastair McDermott, Cameron Gannon, Ben Cutting and Chris Lynn (all injured) with James Hopes in doubt due to his wife giving birth.

Queensland will rely heavily on in-form batsmen Joe Burns, who will wish to continue his good form, the reborn Luke Pomersbach and the fighting qualities of Chris Hartley with the bat.

Ryan Harris will lead the bowling attack and has put in good performances in his last two games, one against WA and an earlier hit-out against Tasmania.

He will have the extra motivation of putting his hand up for re-selection in the Australian Test team and a possible place on the touring party to England.

He will be looking for support from veterans Hopes (pending availability) and Nathan Hauritz along with young players Michael Neser and Ronan McDonald.

This final really shapes as David versus Goliath battle. Tasmania will be keen to reverse the result from last year’s decider which saw Queensland nudge past them by 3 wickets to take the title.

Whether Queensland can manage to pull of a clean sweep this summer remains to be seen. However, if they were to cause an upset, this would certainly push Darren Lehmann’s name for a future role as Australian coach, especially considering the recent pressure on current coach Mickey Arthur.

Fan article originally published on The Roar's sports opinion website and kindly reproduced here thanks to The Roar. Submit your own cricket fan article for potential publication on cricket.com.au.

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

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 March, 2013 3:07PM AEST

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