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)

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.

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.

GPSS: Nicholls and Ellis help Canterbury Kings to easy victory

A solid knock by Henry Nicholls has seen the Canterbury Kings cruise to an easy 7-wicket win over the Northern Knights in Hamilton this evening.

Chasing 154 to win, Nicholls kept his sides’ chase secure and took the game away from the Knights through controlled aggression with the bat.

Peter Fulton dug in to form a match-winning partnership of 87 alongside Nicholls, setting the Kings well on their way to victory in a run chase that was never in doubt.

Andrew Ellis took five wickets in his spell, ripping through the Knights batting order and keeping the runs to better than the minimum, ending with figures of 5-9.

Ronnie Hira and Todd Astle also helped out with three wickets between them.

Barring an aggressive opening by Anton Devcich and a solid innings by captain Daniel Flynn, the rest of the Knights batsmen fell like a deck of cards before youngster Tim Seifert showed signs of his potential to help his side to a modest total.

The Knights had decided to bat first in what appeared to be perfect batting conditions, and despite being a few key players down due to Blackcaps commitments, there was still more than enough fire power to assist the top order.

The Knights couldn’t take advantage the perfect platform set by Devcich to kick on or utilise the talent of overseas import Kevin O’Brien in the middle order when a total or near 200 looked likely early in the innings.

Canterbury cruised to an easy victory by 7-wickets, thanks large in part to Henry Nicholls and Peter Fulton’s partnership.

Key stories from the match:

  • Northern Knights win toss & chose to bat first
  • 50-run opening partnership for the Knights inside first 4 overs
  • Anton Devcich scores powers the Knights off to a good start – scoring 43 runs before being dismissed
  • Ronnie Hira & Todd Astle take wickets to stifle Knights momentum
  • Daniel Flynn scores 44 before being dismissed
  • Andrew Ellis takes 5 wickets with figures of 5-9
  • Northern Knights bowled out for 153 in the final over
  • Canterbury Kings require 154 for victory
  • Ronnie Hira blasts 2 sixes in opening over of run chase and gets Kings off to a flyer – eventually dismissed for 24 at a S/R of 200
  • Peter Fulton and Harry Nicholls bring up 50-run partnership
  • Harry Nicholls brings up half century
  • Canterbury Kings win by 7-wickets

Devcich returns for Knights GPSS opener

The Knights have named a squad mixed with youth and experience for their opening Georgie Pie Super Smash encounter against the Kings.

Talented batsmen Dean Brownlie and the exciting Anton Devcich both return to the batting order to give the Knights some punch out of the blocks before the returning international Kevin O’Brien will provide a dangerous middle order prospect that game take the game away in the space of overs.

Tim Siefert will take the gloves after an offseason playing county cricket in the UK.

Blackcaps test spinner Ish Sodhi has returned from international duties with NZ A and has been named, joining Jono Boult as the second spinning option for the Knights on a pitch that traditionally favors slow bowling.

Ben Laughlin also returns to the Knights as he begins his Big Bash warm up, signing for NZ’s entire domestic T20 competition.

The Knights will also field a debutant in the form of Nick Kelly.

The full Northern Knights squad for match against Kings:

Daniel Flynn (C),

Jono Boult,

Dean Brownlie,

Anton Devcich,

Brett Hampton,

Nick Kelly,

Scott Kuggeleijn,

Ben Laughlin, (International)

Daryl Mitchell,

Kevin O’Brien, (International)

Tim Seifert,

Ish Sodhi,