With T20 semi-final spots on the line, there was little room for error when club cricket returned after a brief Christmas break. The sun again played its part for Saturday’s second doubleheader round to complete pool play.
North Shore vs. Suburbs New Lynn – Devonport Domain
Suburbs won the toss and elected to field. Luke Devereaux went past the outside edge four times in delivering the match’s first maiden. Graeme Beghin and Stephen Baard fought through some early nibble to put North Shore back on track.
Mitchell Murray and Dane Watson strangled the North Shore middle order taking combined 5-32 off eight overs. A late Carl Brungar boundary lifted North Shore to 109/7.
Gus McKenzie built early pressure and Suburbs were struggling at 29/3 in the seventh over. The visitors tumbled to 46/5 before Jonny Bassett-Graham added some impetus to the innings. With the required run-rate at ten an over, Suburbs needed a hero.
Murray stepped up in the penultimate over hitting three consecutive sixes – deep over long-on, a reverse-sweep and a slog-sweep over backward square – to relieve the pressure and put Suburbs on the brink of victory. Murray hit one final boundary as Suburbs, barring an upset in the afternoon, took a giant leap towards the semi-finals.
North Shore 109/7 (S Baard 31, G Beghin 26; M Murray 3-15, D Watson 3-17) lost to Suburbs New Lynn 110/7 (M Murray 32*, J Bassett-Graham 21; G McKenzie 2-12, M Strain 2-39) by three wickets.
Kumeu vs. Hibiscus Coast – Devonport Domain
In the highest scoring match of the early round, Kumeu won the toss and elected to bowl. Ramesh Lakmal whipped the first ball down to the fine leg boundary to signal his intent. Hibiscus Coast punished some wayward bowling ending the powerplay at 43/0.
Lakmal, the competition’s leading run-scorer, breezed past his fourth fifty of the campaign. Just as attention turned towards a possible hundred, the left-hander picked out long-off. It was the wicket Kumeu needed; there were no boundaries during the final five overs and Hibiscus Coast posted 163/5.
Hibiscus Coast had early control of the chase, but four leg-side sixes meant Kumeu also reached 43/0 after six overs. Hibiscus Coast would drop seven catches by the 11th over. By then, Elyaas Sayed had a half-century to his name and Mohamed Shifaz was making the most of his reprieves.
Lakmal struck twice to give Hibiscus Coast hope, but Junaid Nadir hit 22 off eight to register Kumeu’s first win of the T20 season.
Hibiscus Coast 163/5 (R Lakmal 67, B Aveyard 28; M A Khan 2-16) lost to Kumeu 167/3 (M Shifaz 58, E Sayed 52; R Lakmal 2-39) by seven wickets.
Waitakere vs. East Coast Bays – Te Atatu Park
East Coast Bays won the toss and elected to bowl first. Waitakere were another team looking to get off the mark in the competition and started brightly hitting four boundaries during an action-packed first two overs.
Nathan Fletcher continued his strong showing in the shortest format hitting five fours and three sixes in his fluent fifty. Contributions throughout boosted Waitakere’s total to 145/5 as Louis Delport delivered some tight death overs.
East Coast Bays’ reply started disastrously as a Jared Challis wicket-maiden set the tone for a resounding Waitakere victory. There were signs of life in the chase when regular Delport boundaries kept the score moving.
Delport couldn’t find adequate support and Waitakere’s slower bowlers took over. Blake Robinson and Andrew Simpson both settled in to tight spells and rewarded with three wickets apiece as East Coast Bays collapsed to 116 all out in the final over.
Waitakere 145/5 (N Fletcher 71; L Delport 2-23, R Schierhout 2-37) defeated East Coast Bays 116 (L Delport 48; A Simpson 3-13, B Robinson 3-17) by 29 runs.
Takapuna vs. Birkenhead – Te Atatu Park
Takapuna won the toss and elected to bat first. Despite a slow start and an early loss, Takapuna continued their march towards a home semifinal. Max O’Dowd and Hendrik van Vuuren put on 89 for the second wicket to lay the foundations for a big score.
van Vuuren would make the most of his earlier grind plundering 91 off 60 deliveries. He hit 9 fours and 3 sixes to end with the highest individually score of the day. Will O’Donnell would help finish the innings as Takapuna pushed on to 162/2.
Birkenhead were in early trouble. Matt Jones and Jordan Sussex bowled unchanged throughout the powerplay lifting the required run-rate towards ten an over. By the ninth over, at 35/3, Takapuna’s spinners took over. A fighting fifty from Akash Christian and late hitting by Usman Ghani added respectability, but the damaged had been done early.
Takapuna 162/2 (H van Vuuren 91*, M O’Dowd 39) defeated Birkenhead 135/7 (A Christian 54, U Ghani 34*, M. Jones 2-10) by 27 runs.
Waitakere vs. Takapuna – Te Atatu Park
Waitakere won the toss and elected to bat. The hosts were in trouble early and often losing three wickets inside five overs. James Venkatrao and Travis Ngatai then patiently added 60 for the fourth wicket as they faced Takapuna’s trial by spin.
Ngatai was at his destructive best hitting 4 fours and 4 sixes in a thrilling half-century. Wickets tumbled towards the end of the innings as Matt Jones took his competition tally to 13 wickets. Waitakere posted 129/7 on a tiring wicket.
Waitakere kept themselves in the hunt by keeping Takapuna to a run-a-ball. Restriction alone wouldn’t be enough without wickets to show for it. Max O’Dowd guided the chase hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes in another responsible innings by the current MVP leader across the competitions. Will O’Donnell was again there at the end to ensure the Pirates went through pool play undefeated.
Waitakere 129/7 (T Ngatai 73, J Venkatrao 20; M Jones 3-22, J Sussex 2-20) lost to Takapuna 133/2 (M O’Dowd 66*, W O’Donnell 39*) by eight wickets.
East Coast Bays vs. Birkenhead – Te Atatu Park
Birkenhead won the toss and elected to bat first. It wasn’t much easier for Birkenhead second time around. The top order struggled to get anything going as Jayden Quenell put two early wickets beside his name.
Two players made double figures – Tony Treadaway with a patient 30 the best of the Birkenhead batsmen. Louis Delport dug into his bag of tricks and changed his pace throughout. His four wickets ensured there wouldn’t be any late hitting as Birkenhead limped to 95 all out on the last ball of the twenty overs.
Birkenhead struck early to remove the dangerous Delport, but 95 was never going to truly test East Coast Bays. Seb Langridge, Ryan Schierhout and Michael Ross all contributed to an early finish. With two boundaries over mid-on, East Coast Bays finished their campaign on a high cruising home with more than seven overs to spare.
Birkenhead 95 (T Treadaway 30; L Delport 4-13, J Quensell 2-7) lost to East Coast Bays 98/3 (M Ross 31*, S Langridge 28)by seven wickets.
North Shore vs. Kumeu – Devonport Domain
Kumeu won the toss and elected to bat. There was no repeat of their morning heroics as Kumeu quickly tumbled to be all out for 53. Gus McKenzie backed up his earlier effort with another three wickets while younger brother Jock claimed his first Premier scalp. Tendai Chitongo also spun a web through the lower order putting three wickets in his pocket.
North Shore lost one wicket with Stephen Baard and Graeme Beghin at the crease when the hosts tracked down the total with nine overs to spare.
Kumeu 53 (T Chitongo 3-4, G Mackenzie 3-8) lost to North Shore 55/1 (S Baard 26*) by nine wickets.
Suburbs New Lynn vs. Hibiscus Coast
Hibiscus Coast won the toss and elected to bowl first. With the tension of the early match out of Suburbs’ system, the five-time champions built a total that ensured they wouldn’t give up their semi-final spot.
Jeet Raval and Raj Majithia made a steady start putting on 41 for the first wicket, however it was Michael Barry and Jame Parslow who took Suburbs out of reach. Parslow, in particular, picked the Hibiscus Coast attack apart in a brutal 73 off 34 deliveries. There were 3 fours and 6 sixes in a knock that ended on the last ball of the innings with Suburbs on 179/3.
Luke Devereaux and Eli Meenhorst reduced Hibiscus Coast to 14/3, which included the prized scalp of Ramesh Lakmal. Jason Grobler and Jared Barron fought valiantly to keep Suburbs in the field for the twenty overs. Meenhorst finished with outstanding figures of 2-6 from his allotted four overs. Hibiscus Coast would end with 107/8 as Suburbs confirmed their semi-final spot as Pool A runners-up.
Suburbs New Lynn 179/3 (J Parslow 73, M Barry 45*, R Majithia 37) defeated Hibiscus Coast 107/8 (J Barron 33*; E Meenhorst 2-6, D Watson 2-22, M Murray 2-22) by 72 runs.
Cornwall vs. Howick Pakuranga – Lloyd Elsmore Park
With a bowling attack full of Aces, Howick Pakuranga won the toss and elected to bowl first. Cornwall made a circumspect start, easing to 67/0 after the first ten overs. Evan Jones was the first to be dismissed with the score at 69. Teja Nidamanuru joined Amit Dhadwal and the pair took Cornwall past 100.
Nidamanuru was run-out when the hit was on, but not after blasting 40 off 20 balls. A series of late contributions lifted Cornwall to 160/5.
The early loss of Brian Barnard set Howick Pakuranga back briefly before Matt McEwan and Donovan Grobbelaar combined to put the game in the balance at the ten over mark of the chase. There was little in it, but Ajit Rajkumar and Ben Naylor tied up the middle order. Exceptional bowling allowed only 28 runs from six overs and the game had slipped away from the hosts. As well as handing Howick Pakuranga their first loss, Cornwall kept their hopes of a semifinal berth alive with a comfortable victory.
Cornwall 160/5 (Am. Dhadwal 47, T. Nidamanuru 40) defeated Howick Pakuranga 131/8 (M. McEwan 47, D. Grobbelaar 27; A. Rajkumar 3-15, Nidamanuru 3-20) by 31 runs.
Parnell vs. Auckland University – Lloyd Elsmore Park
Auckland University won the toss and elected to bowl. When Ben Horne and Ben Rae raced out to 31/0 after four, a big Parnell score was on the cards. Ben Hawkes took two wickets in quick succession and regular wickets thereafter pegged back a powerful middle-order.
Jonathan Low’s four wickets sparked an extraordinary collapse as Parnell crumbled from 86/3 to 121 all out.
Parnell didn’t dwell on their total for too long; what they had would have to be enough. Ollie Pringle and Keegan Russell took three wickets in as many overs to rock University’s hopes. Without significant scoreboard pressure, University were still in the hunt. That was until Aniket Parikh entered the attack. He would return remarkable figures of 5-9 off three overs as University were rolled for 38.
Parnell 121 (B Horne 44; J Low 4-17, N Stobart 2-14) defeated University 38 (A Parikh 5-9, G Ratnasabapathy 2-5, K. Russell 2-11) by 83 runs.
Grafton vs. Ellerslie – Keith Hay Park
It was a rough start for Grafton against Ellerslie, as Dipesh Patel and Ryan Higgins both got wickets with their first ball. Grafton recovered well from 16/3 with Mike Ruffell and Parth Patel combining for a 90-run stand. A late run-a-ball 17 from Kyle Ruffell and Grafton would have felt reasonably satisfied with their final total of 143/6.
There were no such early wobbles for Ellerslie, who made it to 58 before they lost their first wicket. Then Nikheil Bhana and Dylan Taylor came in to put the brakes on the scoring rate. Along with Aryian Hassan, they bowled 9 overs for just 35 runs through the middle, and Ellerslie found themselves needing 54 runs off the last five overs.
Varun Khanna and Alan Burton weren’t going to give it away, however. Both running hard, they brought the scoring rate up in twos, hitting just four fours between them in the final overs. Khanna hit two off the second-to-last ball to tie the match, then faced Dexter Marsh to pick up Ellerslie’s first win of the championship. It wasn’t to be – Khanna was caught behind and the match finished in a rare tie.
Grafton 143/6 (P Patel 57, M Ruffell 41; D Patel 3-19, R Higgins 3-29) tied with Ellerslie 143/4 (V Khanna 46, A Maasch 32; D Taylor 3-15).
Howick Pakuranga vs. Parnell – Lloyd Elsmore Park
Parnell won the toss and elected to bat. Howick Pakuranga’s gun bowlers were determined not to be stung twice and it didn’t take long to get into their work. Parnell were 48/4 ten overs into their innings and in need of significant recovery.
It came in the form of Brad Rodden and Ollie Pringle, but the early struggles meant the Peaches could only muster 125/7. All of the Howick Pakuranga bowlers had a wicket beside their names in a resounding response.
Matt McEwan and Glenn Phillips would then make short work of the chase humming along to 101 before losing their first wicket in the tenth over. McEwan hit 2 fours and 5 sixes, falling one shy of fifty while Phillips hit 9 fours and 3 sixes in an unbeaten 68.
Howick Pakuranga breezed home with seven overs and nine wickets to spare to extinguish any faint Parnell hopes of a semi-final berth.
Parnell 125/7 (B Rodden 27, O Pringle 20; K Mackenzie 2-27) lost to Howick Pakuranga 130/1 (G Phillips 68* M McEwan 49) by nine wickets.
Auckland University vs. Cornwall – Lloyd Elsmore Park
Auckland University won the toss and elected to bat first. After a dramatic collapse in the early game, the start of this innings didn’t get much better losing a wicket in the first over. Charlie Lowen and Vijay Anand went about setting Cornwall a challenging total.
Lowen hit 5 fours and a solitary six in an attempt to hold the innings together. Anand also hit 5 fours, but neither player stretched much further than a run-a-ball as Cornwall’s bowlers put in a disciplined shift. University finished with 122/4 from their 20 overs.
There wouldn’t be scoreboard pressure for Cornwall, but there was the carrot of a semi-final spot on the line. Amit Dhadwal took his time while Teja Nidamanuru put his foot to the floor. The skipper hit 9 fours and 2 sixes in an innings of real authority. Jonathan Low took another two wickets, but it was a routine chase for Cornwall hitting the winning runs with four overs and eight wickets to spare.
Auckland University 122/4 (C Lowen 60, V Anand 31) lost to Cornwall 124/2 (T Nidamanuru 70*, Amit Dhadwal 37; J Low 2-29) by eight wickets.
Eden Roskill vs. Ellerslie – Keith Hay Park
Eden Roskill won the toss and elected to bat first. The hosts were quick to get going, but Varun Khanna would put his stamp on the early overs. The opening bowler took three wickets as he bowled unchanged. Ryan Higgins then got in on the act and Eden Roskill were 64/5 halfway through their innings.
It didn’t get much easier for Eden Roskill falling to 102/9 before Harjot Johal hit 2 fours and a six in the final over to lift the total to 122/9.
Ellerslie ran into similar trouble losing two early wickets. Though a third would follow before ten overs, the experience duo of Higgins and Matthew Wall added 64 to put any Ellerslie nerves at ease. Higgins was dismissed with four runs still needed from five deliveries and there was time for late drama. Abrar Alam was up to the task hitting his first ball for four.
Eden Roskill 122/9 (S Desai 24, V Khanna 3-27, A Sreenivasan 2-17) lost to Ellerslie 123/4 (R Higgins 52, M Wall 35*) by six wickets.
Grafton vs. Papatoetoe – Keith Hay Park
Grafton, coming off their tie with Ellerslie, could have been forgiven for feeling slightly punch-drunk as they went out to bat against Papatoetoe. This only got worse, when after less than three overs their two openers were back in the sheds.
Alex Edwards, coming in at first drop, saw out five balls without scoring, then went about making up for that in fours and sixes. He hit 86* from 57 balls to help propel Grafton to their final total of 145/5.
Papatoetoe’s batsmen had no trouble maintaining the scoring rate. Where their bowlers had been able to peg back Grafton at crucial points, Josh Plummer hit a six from the second ball. Navdeep Aujla and Jake Dunford powered the Papatoetoe innings to an eight wicket win in 18.2 overs.
Grafton 145/5 (A Edwards 86*; J Plummer 2-29, S Birla 1-9) lost to Papatoetoe 146/2 (N Aujla 63* J Dunford 38; D Marsh 1-21) by eight wickets.