Imports lift Knights to T20 lead
The English connection of Steven Croft and James Foster again propelled the Northern Knights to victory in their Twenty20 match in Hamilton last night.
The imported duo repeated their match-winning effort from the home team's opening victory as the hosts chased down the Central Stags tally of 149-6 off their 20 overs with six wickets to spare and five balls remaining.
The victory meant the Knights climbed to the lead in the competition with two wins from as many matches.
Croft made an unbeaten 59 from 48 balls (six fours and a six), Foster rattled off 22 from 11 balls while skipper Scott Styris gave the innings impetus with 46 off 35 deliveries.
In-form batsman Carl Cachopa was the only member of the Stags to flourish with the bat, his impressive unbeaten 64 off 33 balls making the Knights work hard in their chase.
Central import Peter Trego took a wicket with his first ball by removing Brad Wilson and then unwanted Black Cap BJ Watling perished in the next over after getting a leading edge off Ben Wheeler.
When Trego forced Anton Devcich to drag a short one on to his stumps in the fourth over, the pursuit was stuttering at 20-3.
Croft and Styris took a measured approach to leave the Knights needing 89 off the second half of the innings with seven wickets in hand. They then took 16 from the first over bowled by Stags skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett to gain momentum for the run home.
Earlier, the visitors won the toss and chose to bat, but made a hesitant beginning as left-arm spinner Devcich proved difficult to score off when opening the bowling.
However, it was the seamers who capitalised as the Stags tried to lift their run-rate.
Corey Anderson took two catches at mid-on off Scott Styris and Graeme Aldridge as Trego and Dean Robinson both mishit forcing shots to see the Stags in trouble at 17-2 in the sixth over.
Croft claimed How and Mathew Sinclair to leave the Stags struggling at 49-4 midway in their innings before Cachopa led the visitors to a defendable total.
- Manawatu Standard