The Courier-Mail

New rule puts onus on quicks


NEW-BALL wickets mean more than ever in this year’s Sheffield Shield final that has Test quicks Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Starc licking their lips.

The fast-bowling duo headed to Brisbane on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s showdown with Queensland knowing that for only the second time, the home team needs more than a draw to lift the trophy.

A bonus points system, which rewards wickets and runs inside the first 100 overs of each first innings, was first used in the 2018-19 final, which Victoria won outright.

But four of the past seven finals have ended in draws, and with this y year’s final the latest in the competitio­n’s 156-year history, weather could also play a huge part and ensure both teams put their foot down with ball and ball from the start.

Play is set to begin at 9:30am, just to ensure all overs are bowled before darkness sets in.

Hazlewood (above), who opted out of an IPL contract to play in his second Shield final, said there was little doubt the bonus points system would impact tactics.

“It’s an interestin­g one. It’s my first time playing with that in place. We’ll discuss that leading into it,” he said.

“It takes away that home ground advantage, preparing a flat wicket and playing for a draw. It keeps both teams in it.”

The Blues are looking for a clean sweep of domestic trophies for NSW after victory in the one-day series and the Big Bash with the Sydney Sixers.

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