A tight win over Taranaki yesterday should have Manawatu prepared well enough for their Chapple Cup final against a virtual Central Districts team, due to start today.
After thrashing Wairarapa in the first round, Manawatu were nine wickets down against Taranaki yesterday in the semifinal, needing player-coach Mike Mason to get them to 211 for nine for the win.
Hawke's Bay have nine players in the Central Districts (CD) squad they can call on, compared with Manawatu's five, which should make it an exciting clash in Napier.
"We know what we have to do," Mason said.
"We pretty much know all their players. They're actually fighting for spots for CD, some of them. If you have a big game in tomorrow's game for players they've got a shot at standing up cementing a place in CD."
Mason was happy they came through under pressure to win because they needed a hard game.
"It's going to be tough. It will definitely be a final. To beat them tomorrow [today] we have to be at our best. They will have to be the same probably. It's the right result, the two best teams. It's exciting."
Manawatu bowled Taranaki out for 210 as Phil Mecredy and Bevan Small took three wickets each.
Manawatu lost regular wickets batting, but Brynn Cleaver (46), Dave Meiring (41) and Roald Badenhorst (35 not out) contributed to the win.
On Saturday, Manawatu destroyed Wairarapa, as a ton from Jamie How and five wickets from Bevan Small crushed Wairarapa by 276 runs.
Manawatu batted first and How took to the Wairarapa bowlers, blasting 145 from only 89 balls, including 11 sixes as Manawatu piled on 340 for seven. Their next best were openers Luke Murray with 53 and Cleaver with 46.
Faced with the mammoth total, Wairarapa didn't know what hit them, as Manawatu's speedsters ripped through them to have them all out for 64 in 32 overs.
Small returned amazing figures of five overs, five wickets for only two runs, including a hat-trick.
He competed a run out as well, as only Harry Clinton-Baker with 23 made double figures for Wairarapa.
Adam Milne, Mason, Badenhorst and Mecredy all picked up one wicket each.
Horowhenua-Kapiti lost to Hawke's Bay by 196 runs yesterday, but managed to get a big monkey off their back on Saturday, winning their first game in five years as they beat Nelson by 11 runs.
Taranaki 210 (Will Young 69, Peter Ingram 46, Jamie Watkins 34; Phil Mecredy 3-31, Bevan Small 3-40) lost to Manawatu 211-9 (Brynn Cleaver 46, Dave Meiring 41, Roald Badenhorst 35*) by one wicket.
Manawatu 340-7 (Jamie How 145, Luke Murray 53, Brynn Cleaver 46; Jared Watt 2-60, Nash Patel 2-61) beat Wairarapa 64 (Harry Clinton-Baker 23; Bevan Small 5-3) by 276 runs.
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