Khawaja scores 38, Qld defeat Victoria
Photo Source: AAP
Test cricket aspirants Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns failed to post a big score but Queensland secured a spot in the one-day cup final with a three-wicket win over Victoria on Tuesday.
Marnus Labuschagne overshadowed Khawaja and Burns at Sydney's Drummoyne Oval on Tuesday, top-scoring with 89 as the Bulls hauled in their target of 279 with four overs remaining.
Khawaja and Burns, who were both dropped during Australia's recent 3-0 Test series loss in Sri Lanka, are expected to be recalled for the start of a home three-Test series against South Africa.
Next week's Sheffield Shield opener will be the Queensland duo's best and final chance to impress national selectors before the Test squad is named.
But chairman Rod Marsh was keeping an eagle eye on proceedings at Drummoyne.
Khawaja struck three sixes and cruised to 38, before he was caught behind off the bowling of John Hastings. The Bulls then slipped to 3-97 when Burns was trapped lbw by Marcus Stoinis on 17.
Labuschagne, who was dropped by Glenn Maxwell during his man-of-the-match dig, was full of praise for Khawaja.
"You saw how valuable he is for us at the top of the order. You can't - he's just irreplaceable," he said of the skipper, who played his first game for the Bulls since returning from South Africa.
"The boys up top did very well to make it a lot easier for us in the middle.
"It was good to get the boys close to home but next time we need to make sure we get there with three or four down."
Labuschagne and Nathan Reardon shared a 144-run stand, doing enough of the grunt work that their side could afford a late collapse of 4-26.
Earlier, Aaron Finch top-scored with 79 as Victoria compiled a total of 7-278 after winning the toss.
"No hundreds today unfortunately and that's what was probably missing in both (of Victoria's two most recent games)," Finch said.
"In the last game they (NSW) got two hundreds and won. Today at the top we got two fifties again and come up short."
Finch, who averaged 21.6 in Australia's recent 5-0 ODI series loss to South Africa, was out slog-sweeping legspinner Mitchell Swepson in the 22nd over.
Ben Cutting, who held the resultant catch in the deep, finished with figures of 4-56 and stroked the winning runs.
The result guaranteed Queensland a spot in Sunday's tournament decider at North Sydney Oval.