Friday Night Lights suit Northern Knights
The Northern Knights won their third successive HRV Cup match in Hamilton tonight with an exciting five-run victory over the Canterbury Wizards to increase their advantage at the top of the domestic Twenty20 competition.
The hosts have ridden their advantage of having their opening three matches at their home venue to suit the television schedule and produced three consistently good performances.
Under lights at Seddon Park last night, the Knights restricted Canterbury to 181-7 in pursuit of 187 for victory after making 186-5 in their 20 overs.
Knights coach Grant Bradburn had earlier this week expressed the desire for his side's top order to get the team off to a better start than in their two previous victories over Otago and Central Districts.
So when visiting captain Peter Fulton won the toss and elected to send the Knights in with question marks over how the wicket would play, he was quickly given the answer as Knights openers Anton Devcich and Brad Wilson dispatched the array of Canterburybowlers to wide-ranging areas.
The duo created a new record opening Twenty20 partnership of 97 for the Knights, withWilson falling for 35 two balls prior to midway point of the innings.
Devcich went on past his previous best in the competition of 48 before falling to Roneel Hira for 62 off 43 deliveries, which included seven fours and two sixes. The talented allrounder had promised a big score for some weeks and struck the ball beautifully, often straight and always with exquisite timing.
English import Steven Croft then chipped in with 29 off 21 balls to keep the score ticking over before a spectacular late flourish from former Cantabrian Corey Anderson, who slammed 35 off just 15 balls (three sixes and two fours) saw the hosts to their imposing total.
Canterbury used seven bowlers to try and limit the damage, with Hira easily the standout with 1-24 off his four overs.
They also had success with their opening partnership, led by the diminutive Brad Cachopa. He and George Worker (16) put on 63 for the first wicket in 7.5 overs.
Struggling seamer Graeme Aldridge was surprisingly brought back for a third over despite conceding 20 off his first two overs and went for 17 to put the visitors back in the contest.
Styris then took matters into his own hands by bowling Cachopa, ending a threatening knock of 58 off 40 balls, featuring six fours and two sixes.
The in-form Fulton fell to Devcich for 33 from 19 balls and while part-time Black Caps Dean Brownlie (28) and Tom Latham (17) got Canterbury close, it wasn't close enough.
Meanwhile, the Northern Spirit went down by 10 runs in their latest women's Twenty20 match against the Wellington Blaze in Mount Maunganui yesterday.
Chasing a taxing 145 for victory, the Knights could only manage 134-4 off their 20 overs at Bay Oval.
Kerry Tomlinson top-scored with an impressive 44 off 40 balls, hitting four fours and a six, while White Ferns allrounder Nicola Browne added 33 off 24 balls.