Super Smash: Knights hold out Firebirds

The Northern Knights are off to a winning start in the McDonald’s Super Smash, but in many ways their victory was a lucky one.

Beating the Wellington Firebirds by 8-runs in a last-over thriller, the Knights managed to get away with setting a poor target for the visitors.

It was a lucky escape for the Knights, and they can thank their win to all-rounder Daryl Mitchell who took four wickets in a deadly spell of bowling.

Mitchell put the Firebirds in all sorts of trouble during their run chase. Two of his wickets included the big scalps of Michael Papps and Hamish Marshall early in the piece. Continue reading Super Smash: Knights hold out Firebirds

Northern Knights wanting early T20 success

The Northern Knights kick off another domestic T20 campaign when they host the Wellington Firebirds in Hamilton on Sunday afternoon.

Australian international Ben Laughlin is back in pink for his fourth summer with the Knights, but he is joined by fellow Australian Nathan Reardon joining this time round. The Knights are going to need all the experience that Laughlin and Reardon can bring due to the unavailability of several key senior players.

Daniel Flynn, Anton Devcich, and Scott Kuggeleijn are all out for the opening round. Devich won’t feature for the Knights at all this season due to a ligament injury. Continue reading Northern Knights wanting early T20 success

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: Knights Bowlers Sink Wellington To NZ’s Lowest T20 Total

Superb bowling has seen the Knights cruise to a dominant victory over the Firebirds after the defending GPSS champions imploded and fell to New Zealand’s lowest total in T20 cricket chasing their target.

Ish Sodhi took three wickets in a dominant Knights bowling performance that had the Wellington batsmen heading back to the pavilion on regular occasion.

Anton Devcich was dominant with the bat, but Scott Kuggeleign and Ish Sodhi were big standouts with the ball, the two young Knights bowlers leaders taking five wickets between them.

Spinner Jono Boult also chipped in with the ball, snaring 2 wickets.

In one of his finest performances with the bat in T20 cricket, Anton Devcich batted with both aggression and poise on his way to 66-runs with the bat. At the beginning of his innings, Devcich played his typical style of hit out or get out, finding the boundaries on regular occasion.

When the run rate set, and with help from Dean Brownlie and Kevin O’Brien who both struck the ball crisply, Devcich was able to wait for the right deliveries.

Devcich notched his eighth domestic T20 half century on his way to 66, helping the Knights set the Firebirds a target of 185 in cold conditions.

The Firebirds ultimately never came close in their run chase, Devcich snared himself two wickets with his orthodox spin, and Scott Kuggeleign came within an inch of getting a hat trick after ripping through the Firebirds middle order in his second over.

But it was Ish Sodhi who starred for the Knights, taking three wickets to clean up the Firebirds lower order and hand his team a dominant 112-run victory.

The First Innings:

The Knights scored quick runs to start their innings, firstly through Daniel Flynn who hooked two shots for six. Anton Devcich continued to power on after Flynn was dismissed, finding the boundaries and the embankment with his typical hit out or get out approach.

Dean Brownlie followed suit, smashing two gigantic sixes off the spin bowling of Luke Woodcock, and the Knights were in a great position at 68/1 from their first seven overs.

Devcich and Brownlie batted their partnership past 50, giving the Knights the perfect platform to kick on in the last ten overs.

Jeeten Patel broke the partnership for the Firebirds, Brownlie departed for a well-rounded knock of 22. As the Knights brought up their century, Devcich was being troubled by Patel’s spin and was relieved when the spell came to an end.

Devcich brought up his eighth domestic T20 half century in the next over.

The Firebirds bowlers pulled the run rate back, forcing Irish import Kevin O’Brien to take risks and flirt with his own wicket, but it paid off with two big sixes in the space of an over.

O’Brien raced to 29 thanks to clearing the fence and finding the boundaries, Luke Woodcock again being the Firebirds bowler to leak runs. Woodcock ended his spell, going for a total of 51 runs.

O’Brien was slogging sixes with ease, forcing the Firebirds bowlers to bowl some erratic lines, including a shocking over by Brent Arnel that included three wide deliveries.

Devcich’s brilliant knock of 66 came to an end when he found the hands of the fielder on the ring, leaving Corey Anderson little over three overs to make an impact in his first match back since injury.

O’Brien’s aggressive knock was ended pre maturely when he also found the fielder as he looked to kick on.

The Knights ended their innings with a score of 184 for the loss of four wickets, Daryl Mitchell ending in style with a scoop six to leave the Firebirds a total of 185 to win.

The Second Innings:

The Firebirds run chase got off to the worst possible start when the Knights snared two early wickets; Anton Devcich continuing his good night when he managed to nab himself both wickets.

In all sorts of trouble at 11/2, the experienced pairing of Stephen Murdoch and Craig Cachopa needed to settle in and kick on. But they didn’t, Cachopa was deceived trying to cut the ball and found the thick edge, handing Scott Kuggeleijn a wicket.

Kuggeleijn struck on the very next delivery, clean bowling Tom Blundell, and very nearly got a hat trick, narrowly missing the stumps after bowling the near-perfect yorker.

Wellington required a further 170 runs to win, but were in deep trouble at 14/4.

Poor bowling from Aussie import Ben Laughlin saw the Firebirds put 21-runs on the board in one over, keeping the Firebirds within a sniff of forcing the issue through the middle of the innings.

Jono Boult saw the back of Murdoch, ripping the spin and rattling the stumps to give the Knights a crucial wicket just as the Firebirds comeback began to take shape.

Ish Sodhi took two wickets in a row, becoming the second Knights bowler to get on a hat trick, but like Kuggelign, couldn’t get the elusive third scalp. But the match was safe, Wellington were 62/8 and had no prayer of victory.

Sodhi took another wicket, his fourth of the night, and the game was over shortly after.

Key stories from the match:

  • Firebirds win toss and chose to bowl first.
  • Anton Devcich & Dean Brownlie partnership goes past 50.
  • Anton Devcich scores eighth domestic T20 half century.
  • Luke Woodcock goes for 51 runs in spell.
  • Anton Devcich and Kevin O’Brien partnership goes past 50.
  • Anton Devcich dismissed for 66.
  • Northern Knights finish of 154 from their 20 overs.
  • Firebirds lose 4 early wickets, Scott Kuggeleijn narrowly misses out on hat trick.
  • Anton Devcich takes 2 wickets.
  • Ben Laughlin goes for 21 runs in one over.
  • Ish Sodhi takes 4 wickets, narrowly misses out on hat trick.
  • Northern Knights win by 112 runs.

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.

Much to be desired still with GP Super Smash

New Zealand Cricket has addressed some of the issues with its Twenty20 competition for this summer, but the Georgie Pie Super Smash still leaves a lot to be desired.

Credit: EventFinda

Beginning in November, the format of the Georgie Pie Super Smash sees roughly the same amount of games, but a much wider venue range than last summer including Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth for the first time.

Cobham Oval in Whangarei will also host a Northern Knights fixture.

Only one game per day will take place, except for the finals weekend at Yarrow Stadium, where three matches will take place in a rapid finals format much like last year.

17 of the 33 matches will be televised on Sky Sport, and times for games range from mid afternoon to evening.

But with the slight change to its flavour, the Georgie Pie Super Smash still hasn’t been altered enough to become a marketable tournament that will see larger crowds attend than last year.

Tickets for the grand final were being given away to generate interest last season.

With the Blackcaps playing a series in Australia that includes the inaugural day/night cricket test, New Zealand’s domestic competition is set to draw poor crowds again.

Only at the new venues will a large crowd go through the turnstiles so the likes of Yarrow Stadium and Cobham Oval, as well as The Mount will benefit, but average attendance should be expected at other venues.

Domestic sides haven’t revealed their big signings for the Super Smash, but with the Australian BBL starting shortly after, some big names could be secured for the right amount of money.

The Georgie Pie Super Smash begins on November 5th in New Plymouth.

Firebirds become champions in thrilling Super Smash final

The Wellington Firebirds have won the 2014 Georgie Pie Super Smash after just edging out the Auckland Aces this afternoon at Seddon Park.

Ford Trophy Final - Wellington v Northern

It was the best game of the competition without doubt, and in the process the Firebirds have booked a ticket to domestic crickets premier competition, the Champions League.

Being sent in to bat, Michael Pollard again proved why he is an opening batsmen to watch closely as he blazed a magnificent 76 to help the Firebirds to a total of 186. James Franklin was explosive with the bat, sending two balls out of the park as he reached 31, before Grant Elliot chipped in with an aggressive 40 in the dying overs of the Firebirds innings.

Chasing 187 to win, the Auckland Aces kept themselves within a chance right throughout the run chase.

Craig Cachopa played an aggressive and smart innings, getting to 37 before being dismissed.

But watching the game there was a sense that if Colin Munro was at the crease, the Aces were in with a chance to bring it home. Munro put in arguably he best innings in the Aces uniform, blazing multiple sixes out of the ground, but was cruelly caught out on the boundary line as he tried to keep up with the growing run rate.

In the end, the Aces fell 6 runs short and kept themselves in the game right up until the end.

Cachopa bats Auckland Aces into Super Smash finale

The Auckland Aces have booked a place in the Georgie Pie Super Smash grand final after easily beating the Northern Knights.

Twenty20 - Otago v Auckland

Valiant bowling efforts from Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, and Scott Kuggeleign didn’t aid the Knights in their efforts to stop the Aces cruising to victory at Seddon Park this evening.

Aces batsmen Craig Cachopa forged a half century as together with Colin Munro.

The pair hit timely blows for fours and sixes which always kept the run chase in perfect comfort, sending the Knights packing from the Georgie Pie Super Smash competition.

Cachopa went on to put in his best innings of the Super Smash, finishing unbeaten on 67.

In the end the Aces chased down the 141 run total with ease, and it all began when the Knights batting let them down again.

A hat trick to Michael Bates highlighted some top notch bowling by the Aces after the Knights had gotten off to a flyer early in the first innings.

It was second straight collapse in back-to-back playoff matches for the Knights after earlier in the innings Kevin O’Brien had smashed 52 runs off just 25 balls in one of the best innings seen in the Super Smash tournament.

The record-holding Irish import gave the Knights the best platform to what should have been an imposing total.

Problems arose for the Knights as the middle order again failed to bring the innings home. Daryl Mitchell struggled to get going with the bat and after he was bowled by Michael Bates, the lower order crumbled suddenly.

The last five overs in the Knights inning saw an RR of a run per ball for the Knights.

Unable to take advantage of the solid start, the Knights sunk to being bowled out in the last over for just 140 runs.

Firebirds smash Knights to advance to Super Smash final

The Wellington Firebirds have booked a place in Sunday’s Georgie Pie Super Smash final after easily beating the Knights in Hamilton tonight.

Bowler-friendly conditions aided the Firebirds bowlers to restrict the Knights to just 124 in an innings which saw not a single six hit mixed within some fairly questionable decisions by the Knights batsmen along the way.

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Two poor decisions which led to Knights wickets stand out from tonights preliminary final.

Opening batsmen Brad Wilson attempted to charge down the crease to hit Jeetan Patel out of the park, instead he clean missed the ball and was easy picking for the stumping by Firebirds keeper Michael Papps.

Not only was it a poor out for a batsmen of his calibre, but a poor decision given how early it was in the innings.

The problems out in the middle continued when Travis Birt was run out for just 2 runs after he failed to get back into his crease in what was a questionable choice for a second run in the first place.

Knights captain Daniel Flynn couldn’t continue his fine Georgie Pie Super Smash form, holding out in the field for 19.

But for a valiant fighting partnership between all rounders Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn at the close of the innings, the Knights would have pushed the record for one of their lowest ever totals in Twenty20 cricket.

Mitchell was the top scorer for the Knights, ending on a highly respectable 36 runs.

In the run chase, the Firebirds got off to a rocketing start unlike their fellow North Island rivals.

Reaching 50 runs in the first 6 overs, Michael Papps batted the Knights out of the fight early in the run chase after Papps carted Scott Kuggeleijn around Seddon Park for a massive over somewhere in the region of 20 runs plus.

Various miss-fields didn’t help the cause, and with ten overs remaining in the match, the Firebirds were cruising to what would be one of their easiest victories of the competition. Stephen Murdoch joined Papps to forge a partnership of over 50 runs, batting the Knights out of the game easily.

Papps powered to a half century, and helped the Firebirds to secure the match well in hand with plenty of overs to spare.

Trying to smash Kuggeleijn for a second over in successive spells, Papps hit the ball straight to Daniel Flynn to be dismissed for a match-winning knock of 65.

But the damage was done, and the Firebirds went onto win with a gallop leaving 8 wickets left in the shed.

The Georgie Pie Super Smash is not yet over for the Northern Knights however, though morale will be low after the performance on the park tonight.

The Knights were average, their loss was comprehensive, and it was easily the worst performance of the season thus far.

Tomorrow the Knights will play Auckland in a sudden death playoff game which if they win, will qualify for the Grand Final on Sunday against the team they lost to tonight, the Wellington Firebirds.

Northern Knights relatively comfortable in Georgie Pie lead

The SkyCity Northern Knights are sitting pretty at the top of the Georgie Pie Super Smash table as the competition rolls forward around the country.

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After the first couple of weekends in Hamilton, the Knights have kept their position as the best team in the competition with wins against Canterbury and Auckland, and will look to keep the momentum with a victory over the Volts on Sunday afternoon in Wellington.

A victory against the Volts on Sunday would make a finals appearance that little bit more possible.

The Knights have another 3 games to play in the Georgie Pie Super Smash, Sunday against the Volts before a matchup in Napier against the Central Stags on November 29th and then the Auckland Aces the next day.

Both the Kings and Aces who sit second and third on the table respectively remain the biggest points of interest for the Knights.

The Knights have the advantage of a game less to play in the Georgie Pie Super Smash, while both the Kings and the Aces are set to play another 4 games before the finals weekend in Hamilton.

With three games remaining in their season, the Wellington Firebirds now need to win all their games to be a viable contender for the finals.

The chances of the Central Stags and Otago Volts are all but dashed.

The Knights will be without the services of Daniel Vettori and Anton Devcich this weekend however as both players are away with New Zealand A.