Qld take pole spot in race for Sheffield Shield final
Queensland's Sheffield Shield fate remains in their own hands after a three-day, five-wicket victory over South Australia maintained their hold on second ahead of the final round of the season.
Queensland demolished South Australia for 111 and then survived an at-times nervy run-chase to reach 5-96.
The result, however, ends South Australia's Shield campaign though the Redbacks will have the opportunity to end a lengthy trophy drought in Wednesday's One-Day Cup final against Western Australia.
Queensland still share second with Victoria, but have now moved ahead of their rivals on bonus points.
"This is what you train all season for, to be in position to make the final and try and win a Shield," Queensland skipper Jimmy Peirson said.
After two gritty days of Shield cricket, South Australia's second innings batting collapse was as startling as it was unexpected.
The Redbacks put on 61 for the first wicket but then, astonishingly, lost all 10 wickets for 50 runs.
Openers Henry Hunt (26) and Jake Carder (32) were the only scorers of note for South Australia.
Allrounder Jack Wildermuth (2-12) kick-started the rot with two wickets in one over.
But it was quicks Michael Neser (4-42) and Mark Steketee (4-34) who caused most of the carnage.
The pair now lead the Shield's leading wicket-taker list for the season with 40 and 37 scalps respectively.
Queensland will take on Tasmania in Hobart when the final round commences on March 14.
Peirson had high praise for his opening bowlers but expressed concern about the uneasy fourth innings run-chase.
"We never do it the easy way ... we need to address a couple of things before we go down to Hobart," he said.
"We would like to be making sure we are professional and clinical, particularly in a run chase, and especially when the wicket is still in fantastic condition."
While defeat ended South Australia's Shield campaign, there were positives from the match in the shape of fast bowler Spencer Johnson and budding allrounder Ben Manenti.
Johnson collected a nine-wicket haul in just his second Shield outing, following on from six wickets on debut.
Hard-hitting spinner Manenti cracked a career-best 88 in the first innings, for his third half century in as many matches at state level.