Warner fires NSW Blues into Twenty20 final

NEW DELHI: An explosive innings from David Warner saw New South Wales Blues seal their place in the final of the Champions League Twenty20 Tournament with a 79-run win over Victoria Bushrangers here at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Wednesday.

Set 170 to win, Victoria were reduced to 6-3 inside three overs. Moises Henriques (3-11) impressed with the ball as Victoria finished on 90-9. Warner’s swashbuckling 25-ball 48 was the highlight of the Blues innings, with Phil Hughes (35) and Simon Katich (26) also punishing Victoria’s bowlers.

Katich’s side will play either Trinidad and Tobago or Cape Cobras in final.

After winning the toss and electing to bat on a slow surface, the Blues began in spectacular fashion as Warner and Hughes piled into Victorian fast bowlers Shane Harwood and Peter Siddle. Warner was particularly brutal on anything short, punching a series of magnificent aerial straight drives as the Blues raced to 62 from just 41 deliveries.

But he fell two short of a deserved half century when indecisive running saw the left-hander run out off the final ball of the seventh over. Opening partner Hughes continued the onslaught, assisted by Daniel Smith (20), before he became the first of Clint McKay’s three dismissals in the 10th over.

Katich then maintained the elevated run rate as the Blues finished on 169-7 from their 20 overs. With a pitch partial to turn, Katich promoted Nathan Hauritz to take the new ball alongside fast bowler Brett Lee. And the off-spinner struck twice in his first over, removing Rob Quiney and Brad Hodge before Aiden Blizzard lobbed a simple catch off Lee to Katich at mid-off to leave the Bushrangers innings in tatters.

David Hussey (16) and Cameron White (11) attempted to revive the innings, but both fell to Henriques, ending any hopes of comeback. Only four Bushrangers players managed to reach double figures, with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade top-scoring with 23, while Hauritz and Lee ended with two wickets each.