Wayward bowlers prove costly
The Canterbury Wizards paid the price for a poor bowling performance and lost their second domestic Twenty20 cricket match of the season.
Their five-run loss, to the Northern Knights in Hamilton last night, keeps the Wizards winless in the competition and at the foot of the T20 table.
They batted well, especially Brad Cachopa, Peter Fulton, Dean Brownlie and, briefly, Logan van Beek but the Knight's 186-5 proved too good.
The Wizards needed 16 from the final Bradley Scott over but managed just 10.
Cachopa, who scored 67no in the Wizards' opening T20 match loss to Wellington, again topscored, with 58. He and George Worker (16) added 63 for the first wicket.
Fulton scored 33 and Dean Brownlie 28, but they lacked a hitter at the end to get them over the line.
Andrew Ellis must have been injured as the Black Cap all-rounder sat padded up in the dugout while lesser batsmen Gareth Andrew, Logan van Beek and Ronnie Hira and Ryan McCone all went in ahead of him.
Despite the large target, with five overs to go, the Wizards were comparatively even to where the Knights had been at the same time but the home side's hitting at the death proved to be the difference.
And the Wizards wayward bowling.
Fulton won the toss and put the Knights in but his side struggled immediately. A bowling plan was either non-existent or simply not executed and they paid a heavy price.
It was a great batting deck and the Knights did bat well but the Wizards' line and length was too varied to be part of any plan while the 13 wides they bowled were unforgivable.
When you're bowling poorly the last thing you want to do is force yourselves to bowl more balls, though that's exactly what a sub-par Wizards bowling outfit did.
Van Beek aside, they were also poor in the field.
It threatened to be a long night from the opening ball when McCone's first delivery slipped down the legside for five wides. Knights' openers Anton Devcich and Brad Wilson then batted well to put on a record 97 for the first wicket before McCone picked up Wilson for 35 from 31.
Devcich topscored for the home side with a brutal 62 from 43 balls while it was a former Cantab who slaughtered the Wizards at the end.
Corey Anderson faced just 15 balls for his 35 and helped take 14 each off Dirk Nannes' last two overs.
Black Cap Hira was the Wizards' best, taking 1-24 from his four overs and trapping Devcich in front.
Nannes, the highest wicket taker in Twenty20 cricket, is only on a one-match contract with the Wizards and looked the goods after his opening over.
After a wide to start, he went for just two more runs in his first set, but despite the Wizards needing to break the Knight's opening spell, Nannes didn't bowl again until the 12th over.
By the time he came back at the death, Anderson and English import Steven Croft were well in and were able to take to him as he missed his length.
The Wizards have to wait another three weeks for their next T20 game, against the defending champions Auckland Aces at their Eden Park base.