NSW batsman, Adam Zampa in action against the Queensland Bulls on day three at Manuka Oval. Photo: Graham Tidy
NSW survived a late collapse to limp across the line with a vital three-wicket win against Queensland in the Sheffield Shield match at Manuka Oval on Friday.
Resuming at 4-48 needing 98 for victory, veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was on track for a triumphant Canberra homecoming when he steered the Blues to within 11 runs of victory.
But when captain Steven O'Keefe and Haddin departed in successive balls to leave the Blues teetering at 7-89, the Bulls were back in the contest.
However, late call-up Sean Abbott and debutant leg-spinner Adam Zampa did enough to guide the Blues past the victory target.
It was NSW's second outright victory of the season and moves it to 14 points – six behind joint competition leaders Queensland.
Queensland paceman Ben Cutting picked up another wicket on Friday morning to finish the second innings with 4-30.
Steve Smith showed his intent from the outset with a cracking pull shot to the boundary off Ben Cutting, only to fall in the final ball of the first over for 22, edging a ball to wicketkeeper Chris Hartley to give the Queensland paceman his fourth wicket of the innings.
But just as the Blues appeared on shaky ground, Haddin steadied the ship with some great counter-attacking batting.
The 35-year-old clobbered four boundaries to take the fight up to the Queensland bowlers.
Haddin and O'Keefe combined for a 35-run partnership before O'Keefe was run-out after a mix up mid-pitch.
The Blues plunged further into strife when Haddin holed out to an amazing catch from Luke Feldman at mid-off for 33.
Abbott – who only arrived in Canberra on Monday night as a late replacement for Test call-up Josh Hazlewood – held his nerve to hit the winning runs.
The two teams meet again in the Ryobi Cup match at Manuka Oval on Sunday.