Cricket: Measured approach sees Northern overcome

By Peter White


The outstanding run chase by the Northern Knights was the culmination of strategic thinking, one of the hallmarks of Grant Bradburn's coaching style.

Facing such a daunting task against the Firebirds, the obvious answer was to go out and smash it from ball one, but the Knights took a more measured approach, and thanks to superb innings by openers Anton Devcich and Brad Wilson, won the game in a canter.

No wild slogs across the line or switching the batting order. No, none of that. Just high-quality cricket strokes backed up with pin point placement.

"It was clearly a fantastic track so we knew if we kept wickets in hand going into the last 10 overs then we knew we had the firepower in our side to be able to bring it home," Bradburn said. "We have spoken a lot about playing proper cricket strokes and using the straighter bat rather than across the line, and I think the way they did that at the start of our innings set up a beautiful platform."

Bradburn believes at least one of his opening batsmen should be wearing a silver fern on his chest in South Africa right now.

"I think Anton is definitely playing well and I think he is unlucky not to be in South Africa in either the T20 or the one day sides. Brad has had a lean run up until this point but we always had faith in Brad as he is a quality player and has done it before.

"It was giving him that faith and confidence and encouragement. Today he played with a lot more freedom and it is a great time for all the batsmen to be coming into some decent form at the sharp end of the comp, which is imperative if you are going to contest the finals."

Auckland Aces are next for Bradburn's men on Sunday.

"We would like to have batted first today and done what Wellington did to us in putting a score on the board and put some pressure on them to chase it down. I think that will definitely be the favoured plan for Auckland but having said that I think it is always good in a competition to be able to set and chase.

"We have proved to ourselves we can chase well and it is such a good wicket (at Bay Oval) that it is not reliant on the toss, and that is pleasing from our point of view.

"There are no easy teams in the comp and we know Auckland are a strong side with the confidence of having done it in the last two years."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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