New Delhi Players add some spice

The touring New Delhi Players Club team started their southern New Zealand tour with a win and a loss at the weekend.

The New Delhi Players Club team is rated one of the top five cricket club teams in New Delhi.

Last season it won 11 championships and was runner-up once in the 16 tournaments it played, making it the second-best team in New Delhi for the 2011-12 season.

The idea to bring a team to Southland came after one of its players, Khanin Saikia, last year moved to Invercargill to take up a John Wright Scholarship at the Southern Institute of Technology.

The institute has backed the tour by helping the touring Indian team with accommodation and transport, while the Bombay Palace Indian restaurant has also sponsored the tour.

On Friday afternoon, New Delhi Players started the tour with a festival-type Twenty20 game against a Metropolitan Cricket Club XI made up mainly of recently retired players.

Metropolitan won the toss and chose to bowl.

The visiting Indian team got off to a flyer with the opening pair of Ankit Kalra and Navneet Sharma putting on 93 inside the first 10 overs. However, Metropolitan were able to claw their way back into the game thanks to tight bowling from Jason Dermody, Geoff Folster and Cody Mason.

An outstanding last over from Brad Phillips produced two wickets while yielding only six runs for New Delhi. It left the home team needing 159 for victory but they lost wickets too regularly and were eventually bowled out in the last over for 117.

Karl McKee top-scored with 23, while Mark Beer chipped at the top with 21 from 17 balls.

Yesterday, the New Delhi team played a Southland XI made up partly of current Hawke Cup players and also some fringe squad members.

Because of wet conditions at Queens Park, the game was delayed and reduced to a 48-over-a-side contest and it was New Delhi who again batted first.

The New Delhi batsmen got through to a competitive total of 213 before the Southland team set about chasing it down.

After losing Clinton Goad early, Simon Wadworth (43) and Hamish Blakely (58) put on 79 for the second wicket to set them on the right path. After they went, Shaun Fitzgibbon (59 not out) and Ryan Meyer (30 not out) took over and ensured the home team won, five down and with four overs to spare.

The visitors will today head to Central Otago where they will play some games before returning to Invercargill for more fixtures against various Southland teams later in the week.

The Southland Times