Tasmania strolled into the JLT Cup final on the back of a composed, unbroken 128-run partnership between captain George Bailey and Simon Milenko as they overhauled Queensland’s 177, with 76 balls and six wickets to spare in Sydney.
The Tigers were in early trouble in their chase, slumping to 4 for 52 in the 14th over. Billy Stanlake’s pace and bounce proved a handful on the two-paced Drummoyne Oval surface as he nicked off the opening pair Matthew Wade and Ben McDermott inside the first five overs.
Jordan Silk was then strangled down the leg side and when Alex Doolan was trapped lbw the Bulls were well in the game.
But Bailey and Milenko steadied the chase. Both men absorbed maidens as they were prepared to bide their time until they settled on the tricky surface. Milenko launched back-to-back sixes in the 28th over off Luke Feldman to release any tension that was building and the pair cruised to their respective half-centuries from there. Bailey finished 70 not out off 97 balls and Milenko 57 not out off 68 balls.
Earlier, after being sent in, Queensland struggled to come to grips with the pitch. Five of the top seven reached 16 and faced 30 balls or more but none could move past 30.
Seamer Gabe Bell dismissed both openers on his List A debut. He was one of five Tigers bowlers to claim two wickets with Gurinder Sandhu the most economical taking 2 for 14 from nine overs. His mixture of slower balls and awkward lengths were difficult to overcome and he was named Man of the Match for his efforts.
Tasmania will now face the winner of Sunday’s second semi-final between Western Australia and Victoria in Wednesday’s final at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.