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)

Luke Ronchi bats Wellington out of early trouble

Luke Ronchi batted Wellington out of early trouble as Blackcap Tim Southee took five wickets for Northern on the opening day of the 2015/16 domestic cricket summer.

Northern won the toss and elected to bowl first; the decision paying off with five quick wickets, three to Tim Southee including a snare in his opening over.

Ronchi came to the crease when Wellington were in all sorts of trouble, but with some aggressive shot play against average bowling from Scott Kuggeleijn, Ronchi batted his side back into contention and scored another first class century.

Southee took five wickets for Northern in an impressive bowling performance and Wellington was dismissed for 267.

Northern opener and captain Daniel Flynn equalled honours at the end of day one with a solid knock of 56 unbeaten at stumps.

Full story below:

Tim Southee snared two early Wellington wickets in his first three overs. Stumps flew moments later when Trent Boult clean bowled Craig Cachopa for a duck, leaving Wellington in early trouble at 10/3.

Luke Woodcock dug in for the Firebirds and slowly began to show signs of controlled aggression at the crease but was eventually dismissed by Scott Kuggeleijn for a defiant knock of 27.

Jimmy Baker sent Pollard back to the pavilion as Northern continued their dominant start to the match.

Tom Blundell scored 34 quick runs to form a partnership with Luke Ronchi and saw Wellington to lunch at 84/5.

Blundell continued to find the boundaries and pushed the partnership with Ronchi past 50, putting Northern under pressure to keep the wickets flowing as the afternoon sun began to ease the difficulty of batting after an overcast morning.

Ronchi began to free the arms, finding boundaries on regular occasion and reached 50 off just 53 balls. Wellington raced past 150, and Blundell brought up his half century with a brilliant straight drive boundary.

Southee took a relieving wicket for Northern as Blundell tried once to many times to use the hook shot and scooped the ball straight to Kuggeleijn in the field as Wellington lost their sixth wicket.

Jeetan Patel joined Ronchi at the crease and built an innings quickly. Ronchi continued to score quick runs but Northern weren’t doing themselves any favours with some ordinary bowling lines.

Wellington dominated the afternoon session; scoring 133 runs and Ronchi went into the tea break just three short of a century.

Patel was dismissed by Baker, but Ronchi brought up his century in fine style with an aggressive hook shot moments later, proving his worth as one of the best wicketkeeper batsmen in first class cricket.

McEwen smashed Baker to the boundary three times in a single over to take Wellington past the 250 mark.

Southee was finally able to dismiss Ronchi, but the crowd gave the Wellington batsmen a standing ovation for a brilliant knock of 115 that swayed his side into a commanding position. With the dismissal, Southee picked up his fourth wicket of the day for Northern.

Northern broke through again the next over when a breakdown in communication between McEwen and Hutchinson led to a run out. Southee broke through again, getting his fifth, and bowling out Wellington in the process.

Wellington finished on 267.

Joe Carter was lucky not to be dismissed for a duck, edging to the slips, but the ball escaped the hands of the fielder and rolled to the boundary. Wellington snared their first wicket when Carter was dismissed for 13 in the eighth over after playing all around the ball and being clean bowled by Hutchinson.

Northern were 30/1 when Kane Williamson strode to the crease.

Daniel Flynn batted his way to 20, hitting boundaries at regular intervals. Williamson found the boundary with a powerful hook shot. Northern brought up 50 runs when Flynn stuck the ball off his hips for a boundary.

Flynn raced past 50 and would go on to hit seven boundaries before stumps, Kane Williamson played a good support role to help Northern close out day one on 94/1

Stories of note from day one:

  • Tim Southee takes 5 wickets.
  • Tom Blundell goes past 50.
  • Luke Ronchi scores a century.
  • Wellington bowled out for 267.
  • Daniel Flynn goes past 50.

Northern Knights to keep similar formula as Georgie Pie Super Smash continues

Daniel Flynn and head coach James Pamment have taken nothing away from Canterbury after the Knights first loss in the Georgie Pie Super Smash on Friday night.

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Fresh off one of his best Twenty20 innings yet, captain Daniel Flynn was pleased with his innings but acknowledged that more runs on the board may have tipped things in the Knights favor against the Kings.

“Last night guys struggled to come in and get underway. It’s obviously something we need to look at.”

From a Blackcaps perspective, Daniel Flynn is focused and hopeful to return to the international stage at some point.

“I want to play for New Zealand again so everytime I go out to bat it’s all about scoring runs and putting your name up into the headlights. While I am here with ND as captain it is about trying to win trophies and perform. Hopefully if I can do that the rewards will come.”

Coach of the Northern Knights James Pamment was disappointed with the result against Canterbury on Friday night.

“When you play against a team like Canterbury you have to be on top of your game and I think last night we just weren’t quite on top of our game.”

But Pamment remains confident in his sides chancing going forward through the Georgie Pie Super Smash.

One of the key issues for the Knights so far in the Georgie Pie Super Smash despite the record of 2-3 is the failings to capitalize on the setting up of platforms for big totals with the bat.

“Lets not take away from the fact that the opposition are bowling really well. In the previous fixtures we haven’t quite had the wickets in hand to mount a charge where as last night against Canterbury we did.”

Pamment believes having another 15 to 20 runs gives a little more comfort to the bowling effort when defending first innings scores.

The Knights have proved capable of defending mid range totals, as was the case in the first two matches of the campaign.

As coach of the Knights, Pamment believes that there is terrific depth in Northern Districts Cricket, and rates Anton Devcich as a big chance to represent the Blackcaps during next years Cricket World Cup.

“I am sure he will make the extended world cup squad of thirty” Pamment said on Devcich.

The Knights will be minus 9 players for the final three fixtures of the Georgie Pie Super Smash as members of the team head to the UAE for New Zealand A and Blackcaps commitments.

Daniel Flynn and James Pamment will continue their Georgie Pie Super Smash campaign today against the Central Stags.

Kings romp home as Knights stumble to first loss

The Canterbury Kings have cruised to a victory as the Knights stumble on a night where nothing went their way.

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Considering the great start to the match, Knights coach James Pamment will be left disappointed with the result, easily the worst performance for the Knights in the Georgie Pie Super Smash campaign thus far.

The Knights were looking likely for a big total right throughout the innings, but just never capitalised on the platform provided by the openers. Daniel Flynn looked aggressive from the outside, and together with opening partner Anton Devcich, the Knights put on an early stand of over 50 runs.

It was a night of milestones for the Daniel Flynn, topping the previous highest score for a Knights player in Twenty20 cricket as well as ticking over 1000 career runs in this form of the game.

Once the breakthrough was made, the Canterbury Kings began to strangle the Knights.

Wickets of big players including Travis Birt and Dean Brownlie fell, both failing to break into double figures. None of the batsmen managed to make any improvements on the solid start, the bulk of the runs coming from Flynn and Devcich’s opening stand.

Andy Ellis was the standout bowler for the Kings, finishing with figures of 4-28 from his spell.

But just as the case last weekend, the Knights just didn’t get the score that looked likely earlier on.

Considering the platform given by Daniel Flynn’s early aggression then counter balancing act throughout the innings, keeping a strike rate of around 130, the final tally of 146 runs was disappointing.

Chasing 147 to win, the Canterbury Kings got off to a decent start in the run chase, achieving the required RPO early on.

Neil Broom and Aiden Blizzard steered the Kings towards the total, batting smartly and choosing the aggressive shots to put away and executing terrifically with a multitude of boundaries, and a couple of big sixes.

One six could have won one lucky patron $5000, but he spilt the ball after a valiant one handed attempt in the crowd.

But it wasn’t only the fans watching on the embankment to make a comedy of errors when the ball was in the air. The Knights dropped two catches while defending their small total, including a sitter by Scott Kuggeleijn off the bowling of Daniel Vettori.

Blizzard continued on, powering past 50 runs scoring at a strike rate of 130, and together with Neil Broom got the Kings into a situation where simple cricket would see their side cruise to an easy victory. Blizzard smashed three sixes in a row to finish the game, ending on 69.

It was a night were not much went right for the Knights. Canterbury cruising to an easy win by 8 wickets at Seddon Park.