Takapuna have won the first trophy of 2021/22 after a thrilling conclusion to the Men’s T20 Championship Final at Colin Maiden Park yesterday.
After a 30-minute delay, Auckland University were asked to bat first. Takapuna’s Daniel James seized his moment in the powerplay, bowling both University openers in the first three overs.
Pirates skipper Matt Jones then struck twice in the 9th over, before Will O’Donnell chimed in to have University in deep trouble at 59/5 at the ten-over mark.
University’s T20 skipper Jonathan Low then went about building his side a total to defend. Together with Kieren Mackenzie (25*), the pair added 62 for the sixth wicket. Low hit 66 off 48 balls, accessing all parts of the ground to lift University to 131/6.
It was the kind of score that kept both sides in the match. Takapuna’s chase would prove just that, racing out of the blocks through Max O’Dowd (33) before the University attack squeezed through the middle.
Regular wickets kept the hosts in the contest, with Angus Olliver picking up 3-26 from his four overs, including the big wicket of O’Donnell (23).
The Pirates powerful middle-order kept the score moving, but the visitors still required 19 from the final two overs. James, who had given Takapuna their initial advantage in the game, cleared the rope in the 19th over to leave the equation at 7 runs off the final six balls.
The ball fell to Elias Falanitule, who delivered an impeccable first five deliveries.
One. One. Dot. Wicket. One.
Four required from the final ball.
Another excellent delivery from Falanitule.
An inside-edge. Past the keeper … and away to the boundary for four.
The Takapuna players stormed the field to celebrate with James, the hero at the death as the Pirates win the T20 Championship for 2021/22.