READER REPORT:

Winners and losers of domestic Twenty20

ANDREW HOUSTON
Last updated 09:30 17/01/2014
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Iain McGregor

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The regular season of domestic Twenty20 is complete and the finals are upon us. It is time therefore to celebrate the best and worst of Twenty20 cricket in New Zealand by handing out some awards.

We'll recognise three deserving nominees for each category before choosing a winner.

Best Foreign Player

Fourteen foreign imports played in the 2013-14 season. Some struggled to justify their price tags (I hope Wellington got a refund for Shaun Tait), but some of them were true game changers.

The nominees are:

1. Ryan ten Doeschate (OT): The Dutch master was the best all-round player for Otago once again. His batting is consistent and explosive. A 153 per cent strike rate is world-class.

2. Daniel Harris (ND): He led the run scoring chart for the competition, despite playing in only six of a possible 10 games due to his commitments with the Melbourne Renegades. To underline his importance to ND, in the games Harris played ND had a five win-one loss record; without Harris ND was one win-three losses.

3. James Fuller (AKL):  I've said it before and I'll say it again, women of Auckland please keep this man in New Zealand so he can play for the Black Caps! The 23-year-old Kiwi/Pom took another step forward, becoming Auckland's most economical and best wicket taker by season's end.

And the winner is: Daniel Harris.

Best Single-Game Performance

There were some individual single-game performances that almost single-handedly won games for their respective teams. This award recognises those performances.

The nominees are:

1. Dean Brownlie (CAN) v Wellington: In a must-win match, Canterbury were chasing 155 for victory but were struggling at 11/1 when Brownlie came to the wicket in the third over. In the course of the next 10 overs Brownlie struck 11 fours and five sixes to guarantee Canterbury was one step closer to reaching the finals.

2. Ben Laughlin (ND) v Wellington: With Wellington at 103/3 in the 14th over, they were on track for a competitive score of around 150. Over the course of Laughlin's next two overs they lost six wickets for 13 runs to a combination of sharp pace, accurate yorkers and good length balls. Wellington's total of 128 was not nearly enough, with ND cruising to an easy win.

3. Daryl Mitchell (ND) v Central Districts: Batting first, ND were in trouble at 19/3 after five overs. Up and coming Mitchell then joined with the Daniels (Harris and Vettori) to put on 181 runs in the remaining 15 overs. Mitchell's strike rotation combined with power hitting not only ensured a comfortable win, but put his name forward as a Black Cap of the future.

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And the winner is: Ben Laughlin.

"Dampy" Award for Worst Player

We present the "Dampy" award for the worst overall player performance for the season.

The nominees are:

1. Shaun Tait (WLG): The Australian speedster played four games this season, yet somehow conceded more runs than the average bowler (45 runs worse than average) from his games played. This was more than any other bowler in the competition, including all the bowlers who played as many as 10 games.

He also failed to live up to his wicket-taking pedigree, meaning that Wellington would have been better playing a local player such as Mark Gillespie or Andy McKay than bringing in Tait.

2. Central Districts Bowlers (CD). Trego, Kain, Noema Barnett, Nethula, Small, Oram, D Bracewell. This award is intended for individual excellence, however an exception needed to be made for the CD bowlers. The Stags this season achieved something remarkable. As a group they conceded more runs per over for a full season than any New Zealand Twenty20 team ever. Collectively they were as threatening to opposition batsmen as a pink Care Bear.

Apologies to Kain and Nethula, who were actually quite effective spin bowlers for CD, but the stink of the other bowlers has still wafted over them.

3. BJ Watling (ND): Watling has played for a successful team that has provided him with many opportunities to contribute to their success. Up to this point, however, Watling has failed to grasp them this season in the Twenty20 format. Going into the finals weekend it is possible he may be ND's weak link.

And the "winner" is: Central Districts bowlers.

Best Player in a Bowling Role

It is often said that Twenty20 is purely a batsman's game, but not when it comes to team success. For each of the three finalists this season, bowling was the strength of all three teams. This award recognises which bowlers were the most valuable to their teams.

The nominees are:

1. James McMillan (OT): After years derailed by injuries, McMillan seems likely to finally finish a healthy domestic season. His accuracy and durability seem to have been improved greatly by his shorter run-up, without sacrificing much of his zip and pace. His economy rate was the best in the competition for a pace bowler who operates in the high-leverage situations at the beginning and end of the innings.

2. Brent Arnel (WLG): Arnel was not the most economical bowler in the competition, nor did he take the most wickets. What he did do was bowl the most economically relative to average of any bowler in the competition, meaning that the matches he played in were significantly higher scoring (due to pitches, boundary sizes etc) than either McMillan or Boult. Throughout the season his bowling saved 44 runs v the average bowler from the matches he played in, whilst still being the highest wicket taker for Wellington.

3. Jono Boult (ND): The lesser Boult no longer? Big brother Trent has had the international success and is clearly the better bowler, but Jono has firmly established himself as a quality spinner for the Knights this season. His Value Wicket Average is the best of any bowler who bowled more than 20 overs, and became a key cog for the Knights' top-ranked bowling unit.

And the winner is: James McMillan.

Best Player in a Batting Role

The nominees are:

1. Daniel Harris (ND): I have already covered Harris' excellence in the foreign players section, but it's worth also mentioning the following: Harris played six matches for ND, in five of them he generated a VR score (the combined measure of runs scored and adjusted strike rate) of at least 35, three of which were over 60.

2. James Franklin (WLG): In my Wellington team preview I mentioned that the loss of Jesse Ryder meant Franklin needed to step up and have a superstar-level season for Wellington to be competitive. He had an excellent season which got better as it went along. It gave the Firebirds lineup important middle-order explosiveness.

3. Colin de Grandhomme (AKL): The Auckland six-hitting supremo had another solid season in 2013/14. He retained his title as having the highest strike rate in the competition. His consistency was not as great as in 2012/13 when he averaged 42 VRs, but he remained the Aces' most valuable Twenty20 batsman in a lineup that was the second best in the HRV Cup.

And the winner is: Daniel Harris.

Best Team?

Who wins this award will be determined tonight and Saturday night in Hamilton.  


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