Khawaja tips Bulls to charge

CRICKET: Injured batsman Usman Khawaja says Queensland is still a big chance of making its second straight Sheffield Shield final after gaining confidence from last week's remarkable success over the Redbacks at the Gabba.

Khawaja has been ruled out of the clash against Tasmania starting in Hobart today after injuring his hamstring while blasting an unbeaten 182 as the Bulls pulled off the second-highest run chase in Shield history (471).

But he said if the side played as it did last week, it can close the gap at the top.

The Bulls sit eight points adrift of the top two on the table, but Khawaja was confident of further success.

"The guys have taken a lot of hope out of this last game, so if we can get a win down in Hobart, then any-thing can happen," Khawaja said.

Bottom-placed Victoria, which has lost its past four games, faces leader South Australia at Adelaide Oval and selectors have reacted to last week's heavy defeat against NSW by dropping four Australian internationals.

One-day players Dan Christian, Aaron Finch and Clint McKay have all been axed along with James Muirhead, who made a big impact in the recent T20 series against England.

Also dropped is Peter Handscomb, who has also struggled for runs at the top of the order.

Taking their place in the squad are spinners Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland, quick Jake Reed, Rob Quiney and Michael Hill.

With only a mathematical chance of making the Shield final, Victoria could hand Reed his first-class debut.

In today's other game, WA will look to continue its winning ways against NSW after last week's success over the Tigers.


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