James Vince Guides England To Easy Win To Start NZ Tour

A maiden T20 half-century for James Vince has helped England to any easy opening win on tour to New Zealand, chasing down the hosts middling total with ease.

Bowling first in the sun and playing three debutants didn’t appear to impose much concern for England, but it was the classy orthodox batting of Vince that ensured a comfortable win chasing a total of 155.

Outclassing every other batsman with ease, Vince notched his maiden T20 half-century and never looked back. Hitting seven fours and two sixes in his 59, the offside dominant innings featured a strike rate that far outclassed any other, and by the time he was dismissed, the English were in the position to close out.

Thanks all to Vince and a well-executed bowling plan earlier in the day to restrict a usually powerful New Zealand batting arsenal. Continue reading James Vince Guides England To Easy Win To Start NZ Tour

Jeet Raval: The Find That New Zealand Were So Desperate For 

Jeet Raval has firmly established himself as the ideal partner to Tom Latham at the top of the New Zealand batting order in Test cricket.

If only the Blackcaps opener could’ve stuck around for another 16-runs. That’s exactly what Jeet Raval will be saying to himself at the tea break this afternoon. Dismissed for 84, Raval had played the near-perfect innings, and was on track to bring up his maiden Test century, and fell short again.

But regardless, Raval is the find that New Zealand have been searching for at the top of the order and is the ideal choice to partner Tom Latham.

Jeet Raval: The Find That New Zealand Were So Desperate For 

For many seasons prior, New Zealand struggled to find an opening pair that could be effective in Test cricket. Tom Latham, clearly seen as an opening specialist in the longer form, needed a partner that could spend several hours at the crease.

Jeet Raval was, and still is, that man. He was a diamond in the rough that had to wait his turn, and waited he did.

A fellow left-hander, Raval has averaged a tick under 50 since making his Test debut last summer. Teams that the 29-year old has batted against at the International level include South Africa and Pakistan; two of the better bowling attacks in World Cricket.  On debut, Raval scored 55 and 36, before achieving his highest score of 88 later in his first International summer. In First-Class cricket, Raval has a highest score of 256 and has converted half-centuries into tons nearly 50% of the time.

The point being, Raval was always going to rack up the runs for New Zealand, and his still young International career is proving it.

Raval Goes For 84 Prior To Tea Break

In today’s performance, Raval was aggressive towards the balls that deserved it, and cautious under a barrage of high balls that the West Indian bowlers sent his way. All poise at the crease, Raval played like a batsman that really didn’t want to lose his wicket.

Raval has said in recent media reports that he wants his batting average to improve, and despite his obvious desire to dig in for a day of batting at the crease, Raval also took calculated risks, even when the ball may not have been right in his wheelhouse. One example being when he attempted to cut the ball and very nearly found the slip fielder, only to attempt the shot again on the very next ball to hit it perfectly.

The choice in shots wasn’t always fantastic, but the vision was sign of a batsman in form and seeing the ball well. If only that could’ve continued.

New Zealand are 173/3 at the tea break.

Guptill Not Disappointed Over IPL Snub

Martin Guptill wasn’t the only surprise to come out of the IPL Auction in 2016, he and other big names have all missed the cut.

Despite a double-century in ODI cricket and a century in T20 cricket, Guptill wasn’t brought by any franchise for this seasons Indian Premier League.

A low reserve of just $111,000 and a sublime last 12-months with the bat wasn’t enough to buy Guptill a ticket to his first IPL, and it makes Guptill the highest T20 run scorer to not have picked up a contract.

The Blackcaps have said they are baffled by Guptill’s omission but insist that he will forget about it quickly.

Guptill didn’t find out his IPL fate until after the Blackcaps loss to Australia in Wellington last night, but team members have said that Guptill showed no signs of disappointment.

Colin Munro was brought for $67,000 by Kolkata and Tim Southee went for $556,000 to Mumbai, double his original reserve.

Australia Destroyed At Eden Park… Again

Australia will be seething after pulling the Blackcaps back to a par total at Eden Park, only for the run chase to be over within the space of ten overs.

At 6/41, no side in world cricket could have brought it back after New Zealand dominated the opening hour of the run chase with sublime bowling.

Chasing 208 to win, key batsmen for Australia failed to fire, including captain Steve Smith who chopped the ball onto his stumps.

David Warner will rue his decision to listen to batting partner George Bailey and not refer his LBW decision when replays showed the ball was clearly going over the stumps.

Warner’s wicket was the turning point of the match.

Proven match-winners George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell also failed to fire with the bat, all being dismissed cheaply.

Trent Boult and Matt Henry shared three wickets a piece for New Zealand.

A record partnership for Australia against New Zealand between Matthew Wade and James Faulkner wasn’t enough to claw Australia back into the game.

Earlier in the day Martin Guptill was unlucky not to reach another ODI century after being run out for 90.

Young batsman Henry Nicholls went past 50 in another impressive performance.

Some calm bowling on a ground with short boundaries saw Australia slow the run rate when New Zealand were looking at posting a score of 400.

U-19’s Lose To Nepal For The Second Time

New Zealand’s loss to Nepal at the U-19 Cricket World Cup, and it wasn’t the first time.

The Junior Blackcaps botched a simple run chase to be bowled out for 206 in the opening match of the U-19 World Cup.

Despite opening batsman Glenn Phillips scoring a half century, the juniors lost too many wickets on frequent occasion.

It is the second time New Zealand has lost to Nepal at the U-19 level, the last time was back in 2006 and featured players like Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, and Tim Southee.

The Junior Blackcaps must now win against India and Ireland to progress.

Late collapse hands Auckland victory over Northern in Ford Trophy

Auckland has claimed their second successive victory in the Ford Trophy after beating Northern this afternoon.

Chasing a target of 279 to win, Northern were cruising at one stage, requiring 70 runs from their last 10 overs, but a sudden loss of wickets turned the match on its head.

Blackcap batsmen Corey Anderson had the run chase in control for Northern before being dismissed just twelve runs short of a century, and when Tim Siefert was suddenly run out on 26, victory was lost.

Auckland held on to win by 11 runs.

The full story:

Northern elected to bowl first in batter-friendly conditions, a decision made all the more surprising with rain forecast for later in the afternoon.

An early Northern breakthrough gave Brad Cachopa opportunity to go after deliveries early.

Cachopa found boundaries on regular occasion, adding another first-class one day half century to his impressive domestic career, hitting sixes and settling in for the duration of the innings.

The run rate sat at 5 RPO throughout for Auckland.

Robbie O’Donnell dug in to support, racing out to a half century to put Auckland in an excellent position at 200 with the last ten overs remaining.

Cachopa and O’Donnell took their partnership over the century mark before Cachopa was dismissed just seven-runs short of a century.

O’Donnell was dismissed for 78.

Auckland reached 278 for the loss of 8 wickets in their allocation of 50 overs.

Daryl Mitchell played a couple of nice shots to find the boundary as the run chase began.

Tight bowling from Auckland saw Mitchell and Daniel Flynn finding it difficult to keep up with the required run rate, but the pair took their partnership past 50 as Flynn began to show aggression.

Mitchell was run out after Flynn didn’t listen to the call and left his partner with no chance of getting back to the crease.

Flynn went past 50 but couldn’t kick on, returning to the pavilion after being bowled.

Key stories from the match:  

  • Northern Knights win toss & bowl first.
  • Brad Cachopa scores 93 before being caught by Dean Brownlie.
  • Cachopa & O’Donnell partnership goes past 100.
  • Robbie O’Donnell scores 78 before being caught by Jono Boult.
  • Auckland score 278 runs.
  • Flynn & Mitchell partnership goes past 50.
  • Flynn scores 65 before being bowled by Taryn Nethula.
  • Corey Anderson scores 88 before being LBW by Lockie Ferguson.
  • Auckland win by 11 runs.

GPSS: Munro and Guptill shine for Aces

Some average bowling by the Northern Knights saw Auckland Aces batsmen Colin Munro and Martin Guptill run riot in Hamilton tonight.

Electing to bat first, the Auckland Aces set their Northern rivals a target of 192 that proved to be sufficient for a crucial win that sealed a place in the finals.

Colin Munro smashed the ball to all parts, scoring 82 after Martin Guptill had earlier set the Aces well on their way with an impressive knock of 63 in partnership.

A defiant knock of 39 by Anderson was entertaining for the crowd, but the Northern Knights fell well short of their target and were beaten easily by Auckland at a margin of 38 runs.

The full story:

The Knights batsmen were immediately under the pump in their chase, with a RRPO of nine runs per over at a time, and it claimed the early wicket of Anton Devcich and captain Daniel Flynn who both couldn’t make a decent dent in the runs deficit.

Three sixes in one over saw a sudden partnership between Corey Anderson and Irish import Kevin O’Brien burst past 50 runs. With the RRPO now over 10, the slight window of hope for the Knights rested on the two power hitters.

A brilliant catch in the outfield by Lockie Fergusson dismissed O’Brien, the Knights batsman who had looked most at ease.

A potential broken toe for Corey Anderson didn’t help the Knights struggle in a chase that was always looking out of reach, but the injury didn’t stop Anderson finding the other side of the fence to entertain the home crowd.

Martin Guptill, one of the few Blackcaps opting to play domestic cricket prior to the Sri Lankan tour, got the ball rolling early for the Aces earlier in the night.

Guptill struck three big sixes to get himself going before strategically working himself to his 26th First Class T20 half century with controlled aggression and hitting gaps in the field.

Guptill was eventually dismissed for 63 in one of the Blackcaps openers’ better performances in the Aces uniform.

Rob Nicol pitched in with his typical well-timed stroke play for 29.

Some woeful bowling allowed Colin Munro to find Seddon Parks’ embankment with ease. A lacklustre bowling style with no variation fed into the batting strength of Munro resulting in a huge leakage of runs.

Munro reached 50 quickly, his eighth in First Class T20 cricket, and by the time the Knights bowlers tightened their lines, Munro had bolted and was finding the fence on almost every ball faced.

Munro was eventually dismissed for 82 off 39 balls.

At a glance:

Auckland Aces 191/4 (Colin Munro 82, Martin Guptill 63)

Northern Knights 154 (Corey Anderson 39, Kevin O’Brien 23)

Mitch Santner shows long-term quality in Blackcaps debut

Mitchell Santner will go down in history as the only cricketer to make his Test debut in the first ever day/night Test match.

It was the first time Test cricket, known as the “purest” form of the game, has taken place under lights. It is a new innovation for the game, TV ratings focused, and it took place on the same day as World Series cricket was first rolled out all those years ago.

In the background of all the hype was a young spin-bowling all-rounder by the name of Mitchell Santner, and he was about to become New Zealand’s newest debutant.

A lot of youngsters fresh out of college would crumble under the pressure of such an occasion, but Santner showed poise and talent with both bat and ball.

Santner’s quality as a cricketer is only going to improve.

Satner’s score of 31 proved he was one of New Zealand’s better batsmen of the day, even showing up his captain Brendon McCullum. One can’t help but wonder how many more runs Santner would have scored if not for being dismissed by a suburb delivery by Australian quick Mitch Starc.

Late in the day, Santner was New Zealand’s first spin change.

Tidy in the few overs he bowled, Satner has a very noticeable difference to a lot of spinners in his action, the right arm doesn’t do much, but the control of the ball out of the left arm is immaculate.

Santner has been in and around the Blackcaps picture for a season or so now and has repaid the faith of his selection with an impressive beginning to his Test debut.

Santner will be looked at to make the ball turn in the Adelaide sun on day two.

GPSS: Nick Kelly saves the day for Northern

Nick Kelly has saved the day for the Northern Knights, helping his side escape a dire situation to beat the Central Stags by 2 wickets in Hamilton.

Despite his inexperience, Nick Kelly remained composed despite the Knights run chase crumbling late in the match thanks to some woeful decision making by other Knights batsmen.

Kelly chanced his arms and brought his side home with a fantastic knock of 36 off 16 deliveries, sealing the victory with a six in the final over.

Despite the win, the Knights nearly blew what had earlier appeared to be a walk in after Anton Devcich continued his rich run of form.

Chasing 171 for the victory, Devcich notched his 10th first-class twenty20 half century, steering the Knights towards home with a display of batting that included aggression and control.

Central Stags import Mahela Jayawardena earlier struck an aggressive knock of 76 runs off just 52 deliveries to set a strong total on a pitch that was seeing the ball do things off the bounce.

The full story:

Mahela Jayawardena showed every bit of class that has made him become a great of Sri Lankan cricket, showing controlled aggression early.

Jayawardena formed a 50-run partnership with Josh Clarkson, helped the Stags to a launching platform late in the innings.

Ish Sodhi broke through when Clarkson was caught for 31, finishing a tidy spell of bowling for the Knights spinner.

Jayawardena was dismissed moments later after finding the top edge, allowing an easy catch for Tim Seifert.

Dane Cleaver looked to finish strongly for the Stags, smashing a quick fire 18 before being clean bowled by Scott Kuggeleign.

The Stags posted 170 runs for the loss of 6 wickets from their 20 overs.

Daniel Flynn struck two boundaries, utilizing the fast pace of Adam Milne, but the Stags quick had the last laugh, delivering a beauty to clean bowl the Knights captain.

Irish import Kevin O’Brien looked dangerous for the Knights but was furious with himself when he cut the ball straight to a Stags fieldsman.

Blackcap and power hitter Corey Anderson slightly leveled the ship for the Knights with some quick boundaries but was dismissed trying to play one aggressive shot too many.

Devcich continued his rich run of form, keeping the run rate comfortable and bringing up his 10th first-class T20 half century.

Under pressure to perform, Daryl Mitchell struck a brilliant straight drive for six.

When Mitchell and Devcich both departed late, the Knights were in deep trouble.

Nick Kelly, in just his fourth match, remained calm and found the boundaries, but he was losing men around him.

Seth Rance took the match down to the wire with his second wicket of the night.

Kelly struck a six in the final over to win the match for the Knights.

Key stories from the match:

  • Northern Knights won toss & chose to bowl first.
  • Northern Knights quick and Dutch import Tim van der Gugten goes for 24 off first over bowled. 
  • Mahela Jayawardena reaches 50 (29th First Class T20 half century)
  • Central Stags reach 100 runs from 12 overs.
  • Partnership between Mahela Jayawardena and Josh Clarkson goes past 50. 
  • Central Stags post 170 runs.
  • Northern Knights scrap as the RRPO remains at 8.

 Northern Knights reach 100 off 11 overs.

  • Anton Devcich reaches 50 (10th First Class T20 half century) 
  • Nick Kelly scores 36 off 16 balls.
  • Northern Knights win by 2 wickets.

Jesse Ryder Kept Out Of Televised Matches Due To Side Strain

Few may have noticed, but Jesse Ryder has been missing from the last two Central Stags GPSS games.

Ryder hasn’t been seen in either of the two televised Stags games played at Yarrow Stadium (Saturday and Wednesday) but no official comment from the Stags has been made.

According to Ryder, this is due to a side strain injury.

Ryder said the injury was “not ideal” but gave no further comment. The injury was, presumably, suffered during the Stags opening round loss to the Otago Volts. There is currently no official time frame on Ryder’s return.