Knights cruise to victory over Central Stags
The Northern Knights have put a sobering early crimp in the Central Stags' Ford Trophy one-day cricket title defence after they secured a comfortable 84-run win at Nelson's Saxton Oval today.
A record 155-run fourth-wicket partnership between Daryl Mitchell and James Marshall and an impressive early display of swing bowling by Trent Boult, with excellent support from Tim Southee, provided the substance to a convincing Knights performance.
Not even an entertaining 75-run innings from Stags' batsman Ross Taylor, as part of a 70-run sixth wicket partnership with Kruger van Wyk, could alter the final outcome as the Stags could only muster 238 in reply.
Mitchell and Marshall's record stand dominated the Knights' massive innings of 322 for 7, the pair coming together at 95 for 3 in the 18th over to plunder the Stags' bowling.
Anton Devcich (21), Daniel Flynn (25) and Kane Williamson (26) had each previously made starts, but it was Mitchell and Marshall who cashed in on a good batting strip as they immediately began to increase the run rate.
Mitchell brought up his 50 with a boundary to fine leg off 57 balls, including five fours and a six over wide long on, with Marshall's half century coming even more quickly off just 45 balls and also including five fours.
But just five runs short of what would have been a maiden one-day century, Mitchell played a ball straight back to bowler Kieran Noema-Barnett to break their record stand at 250 for 4 in the 43rd over.
Mitchell's innings lasted 92 balls and included nine fours and two sixes.
Marshall added a further 35 runs with Tim Southee for the fifth wicket before Marshall also went just shy of his ton, lobbing Adam Milne to Ross Taylor at extra cover for 93 at 285 for 5 in the 47th over.
Marshall faced just 83 balls and hit eight boundaries.
It sparked an excellent spell of bowling by Milne, returning in his third spell after some early punishment to take three wickets in eight deliveries, including Southee for 23 and Jono Boult for a first ball duck.
After conceding 55 runs off seven wicketless overs, Milne eventually finished with 3 for 64 as the Stags' leading wicket taker.
A belligerent Brad Wilson smashed 18 runs off the final over to help take the score through to 322 for 7, Wilson finishing unbeaten on 29 off 12 balls.
The Stags' reply began disastrously when international bowler Trent Boult had both opening batsman Jamie How (1) and Mat Sinclair (0) back in the pavilion within the space of four deliveries at 5 for 2.
And when Anton Devcich held a blistering diving catch at midwicket to dismiss Jeet Raval for 3 off Southee at 14 for 3 off six overs, the Stags were in serious trouble.
Taylor's counterattack at one stage saw him hit 41 runs off 14 balls, his entire innings lasting 79 balls and including five fours and five sixes. But his departure at 131 for 6 in the 23rd over restored some order.
Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell (30) continued the fightback with a 54-run seventh wicket stand, although ultimately in vain as the Stags were eventually dismissed in the 39th over when van Wyk finally went lbw for a gritty 51.
A Devcich c van Wyk b Bracewell 21
D Flynn lbw b Nethula 25
K Williamson c Mathieson b Nethula 26
D Mitchell c and b Noema-Barnett 95
J Marshall c Taylor b Milne 93
T Southee c Taylor b Milne 23
B Wilson not out 29
J Boult c Taylor b Milne 0
C Fletcher not out 1
Extras (2lb, 7w) 9
Total (for 7 wkts) 322
Fall: 40, 58, 95, 250, 285, 299, 304
Bowling: D Bracewell 10-0-45-1, A Milne 10-1-64-3, T Nethula 10-0-66-2 (1w), A Mathieson 9-0-58-0 (1w), K Noema-Barnett 9-0-54-1 (1w), J Raval 2-0-15-0.
J Raval c Devcich b Southee 3
J How lbw b T Boult 1
M Sinclair b T Boult 0
R Taylor c Devcich b Aldridge 75
W Young c Fletcher b T Boult 3
K Noema-Barnett c Southee b Devcich 16
K van Wyk lbw b T Boult 51
D Bracewell c Flynn b J Boult 30
T Nethula c Fletcher b Williamson 16
A Milne lbw b J Boult 15
A Mathieson not out 0
Extras (6lb, 21w, 1nb) 28
Total (38.3 overs) 238
Fall: 5, 5, 14, 32, 61, 131, 185, 209, 232, 238
Bowling: T Boult 7.3-0-38-4 (6w), T Southee 7-0-29-1 (2w), G Aldridge 5-0-28-1 (1w), A Devcich 6-0-59-1 (4w, 1nb), J Boult 9-0-46-2 (2w), K Williamson 4-0-32-1 (1w).
Northern Knights won by 84 runs.
Should Brendon McCullum open for the Black Caps?