Stags making hard work of trophy defence
The Central Stags are making hard work of their domestic one-day title defence after slumping to a 67-run Ford Trophy cricket loss to the Canterbury Wizards in Nelson today.
Wizards left arm pace bowler Ryan McCone delivered with the ball to take 5 for 38 as the Stags were finally dismissed for 213 in the 42nd over in reply to the Wizards' 280 for 4.
Opener George Worker had highlighted Canterbury's innings by carrying his bat to post his highest domestic one-day score of 129 not out. The former Stags batsman also combined with his captain Andrew Ellis to post a superb unbeaten 110-run fifth wicket partnership and help carry the Wizards through to their imposing total.
Ellis cashed in on two early lives to smash 65 unbeaten runs off 41 balls, hitting six fours and three sixes, after he was dropped on 14 and again at 15. His second life went through the hands of the fielder on the square leg boundary for six as the pair began to generate some much needed impetus.
Worker and Henry Nicholls had earlier sparked a crucial recovery after a disastrous start saw Canterbury lose their first two wickets inside the first two overs.
Opener Brad Cachopa went first ball of the match when left-armer Ben Wheeler got one to rear viciously off a length, Cachopa edging him through to keeper Kruger van Wyk. Rob Nicol went in the next over, caught at point off Adam Milne as the Wizards slumped alarmingly to 1 for 2.
Worker and Nicholls batted superbly together to steadily lift the score and the run rate, the two left-handers adding 137 runs in their third wicket partnership before Nicholls finally went to a difficult tumbling catch by Milne at deep backward square off legspinner Tarun Nethula for 61.
Nicholls hit five boundaries off 84-balls.
Shanan Stewart (14) added a further 32 runs with Worker for the fourth wicket before Ellis arrived to breath some genuine life back into the innings.
Wheeler completed three excellent spells to take 2 for 41, combining effectively with Adam Milne (1-61) to restrict the Wizards to 23 for 1 in their batting power play.
In reply, Central Stags openers Jeet Raval and Jamie How had moved the score steadily through to 33, How hitting consecutive sixes off Ryan McCone before he was gone for 22 off 16 balls to spark an alarming collapse.
Four wickets fell for just three runs as the Stags slumped to 36 for 4, including Mat Sinclair for a duck, as Canterbury bowlers McCone and Matt Henry extracted plenty of life out of the pitch. Van Wyk followed at 57 for 5 when he played on to a delivery from Ellis, leaving skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett to try and salvage a desperate situation.
The big left-hander tried his best, smashing 57 entertaining runs off 42 balls and bringing up his 50 with a six back over the head of Logan van Beek.
Ellis eventually had his measure when Noema-Barnett finally holed out on the square leg boundary, having hit six fours and three sixes.
At 110 for 6, Tarun Nethula and Ben Smith kept the Stags' fading hopes alive with a 94-run seventh wicket stand. Both displayed some excellent shot selection to maintain a manageable run rate, but both perished with their scores on 49, Smith offering a return catch to McCone at 204 for 7 and Nethula finally caught in the deep just one run later.
The Stags added only nine further runs before they were finally dismissed off the last ball of the 42nd over.
B Cachopa c van Wyk b Wheeler 0
G Worker not out 129
R Nicol c Young b Milne 1
H Nicholls c Milne b Nethula 61
S Stewart b Wheeler 14
A Ellis not out 65
Extras (3lb, 6w, 1nb) 10
Total (for 4 wkts) 280
Fall: 0, 1, 138, 170,
Bowling: B Wheeler 10-1-41-2, A Milne 10-1-61-1 (3w), A Mathieson 10-0-73-0 (1w, 1nb), K Noema-Barnett 8-0-36-0, J How 2-0-7-0, T Nethula 10-0-59-1 (1w).
J Raval b Henry 11
J How c van Beek b McCone 22
W Young lbw b McCone 2
M Sinclair lbw b Henry 0
K Noema-Barnett c Astle b Ellis 57
K van Wyk b Ellis 4
B Smith c and b McCone 49
T Nethula c Worker b McCone 49
A Milne b McCone 2
B Wheeler c van Beek b Henry 2
A Mathieson not out 5
Extras (6lb, 4w) 10
Total (42 overs) 213
Fall: 33, 36, 36, 36, 57, 110, 204, 205, 207, 213
Bowling: R McCone 9-1-38-5, M Henry 9-1-37-3 (1w), L van Beek 5-0-29-0 (1w), A Ellis 8-0-40-2, T Astle 2-0-17-0, R Hira 4-0-23-0, R Nicol 5-0-23-0 (2w).
Canterbury won by 67 runs.
Should the NZ selectors pick Jesse Ryder if he's available?