Hopes of making Shield final have risen for Bulls

CRICKET: Queensland's chances of making a third-straight Sheffield Shield final received a boost yesterday thanks to captain and allrounder James Hopes.

With the Bulls needing to beat Victoria outright at the MCG to book a place in the final, Hopes grabbed 4-35 from 19 overs as the Bushrangers struggled to 8-197 before rain brought an early end to play with more than 10 overs to be bowled.

Hopes (pictured) took the first three wickets to fall - Rob Quiney (4), Dean Russ (12) and Marcus Stoinis (0) - to have the hosts reeling at 3-17. The skipper then bowled Australian representative and wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade for 12.

Dave Hussey (58) and Peter Handscomb (43) later led a mini-recovery with a 93-run partnership.

Bulls paceman Luke Feldman continued his fine season by taking 3-38, including the wickets of Hussey and all-rounder John Hastings, who contributed a valuable 50 off 102 balls.