JLT Sheffield Shield 2017-18
Bulls beat Tigers to claim Shield final
Renshaw makes an unbeaten 81 as Queensland chase down 128 target with nine wickets in hand
Louis Cameron at Allan Border Field, Brisbane
27 March 2018, 04:08 PM AEST
Queensland have claimed the JLT Sheffield Shield title after a hard-fought final was overshadowed by Matthew Renshaw's addition to Australia's Test squad, incredibly, while he led the hosts to victory late on the game’s fifth day in Brisbane.
The Bulls were handed the Shield plaque on Tuesday evening after Tasmania were forced into a desperate declaration following a torrential downpour that all but ended their hopes of an unlikely win.
After more than four hours of play were lost, Tigers skipper George Bailey was given no choice but to declare his side's second innings to generously set Queensland a target of 128 as the visitors pursued an near-impossible victory from the remaining 32 overs.
With a long night of plane travel ahead of him, Renshaw (81 not out from 83 balls) batted like man in a hurry as he notched more than half the required runs to see the hosts home with 9.1 overs to spare.
It's Queensland's eighth Shield title and first since 2011-12 when the likes of Ryan Harris and Chris Lynn led them to a thrilling three-wicket win over the same opposition at the Gabba. Joe Burns is the only Bulls player to feature in both those games.
It was an unfitting ending to Tasmania's resurgent domestic season, with their defeat coming after the Apple Isle’s only other professional sporting team, the Hobart Hurricanes, lost the KFC Big Bash League final to the Adelaide Strikers last month.
The Tigers were by no means outplayed and were left to rue more than 100 overs being lost to bad weather and sub-standard drainage at Allan Border Field. The entire first day was abandoned due to a sodden outfield.
The Bulls are nonetheless worthy winners, having earned home advantage after finishing as the standout side from the regular season, and Renshaw's recall after his pre-Ashes axing gives them further reason to celebrate.
Tasmania looked to be making a fist of it this morning as openers Alex Doolan and Jordan Silk added 150 in a little more than an hour to push their lead into triple-digits with the bulk of the day's overs remaining.
It was then that dark clouds gathered and the heavens opened up to leave an already soft outfield even mushier and puddles gathering around the edges of the covers.
Remarkably, given not a ball was bowled on Friday in far better weather, umpires gave the green light for play to resume after a lengthy spell as Tasmania closed their first innings on 1-166 and Doolan unbeaten on 82.
The Tigers had needed to get off to a flyer after resuming the day on 0-10 still trailing by 29 runs, and the unlikely duo of Doolan and Silk (74) gradually ramped up the tempo.
It didn't take long for Queensland's slip cordon to make way, as skipper James Peirson stationed all nine of his outfielders on the boundary for much of the morning.
It had little effect on the onslaught with the pair bashing six sixes inside the first hour-and-a-half, including one Silk bomb landing on the roof of the Queensland Cricket offices, necessitating a ball change.
The lean right-hander was caught on the boundary trying to repeat the feat five balls into a Jack Wildermuth (1-54 off six) over he'd already taken for 20.
With Tasmania desperately trying to manufacture a result, conditions again conspired against them when umpires suspended play for bad light and heavy showers set in.
Doolan was approaching a deserved century before the break, though that potential milestone was quickly forgotten as George Bailey was forced into the declaration when play finally got back underway in the late afternoon.
With the surface showing no signs of breaking up, Burns unleashed with a flurry of boundaries including a pair of glorious pull shots.
Not to be outdone, Renshaw seemed to accelerate in the minutes after he was officially drafted into Australia's Test squad with a sweetly-timed flick off his pads followed up with a towering six over long-on off Sam Rainbird.
After bringing up a 58-ball half-century, the left-hander went big again as he creamed Simon Milenko for another booming straight six.
Burns exited when he tried to loft off-spinner Beau Webster and was caught by Bailey, but Renshaw marched on, letting out a cry of joy as he cut Rainbird for the winning runs.