Cricket: Knights bounce back in style

By Ben Guild

The Northern Knights have underlined their Ford Trophy credentials with a comprehensive 92 run win over the Otago Volts at Bay Oval.

Discarded Black Caps batsman Daniel Flynn's superb 135 from 137 balls, including 15 fours and one six, set up the victory for a Knights side which received a much-improved return from a seam attack plundered by Canterbury Wizards batsman Rob Nicol at the same venue only four days ago.

Flynn was happy with his return to form in the bonus point victory that keeps his side's semifinal aspirations on track ahead of their final two round robin matches.

Batting first after winning the toss, Knights' openers Flynn and Anton Devcich combined to post the highest opening partnership for Northern Districts in limited overs cricket, surpassing the 168 run stand put on by Daniel Vettori and James Marshall against Wellington during the 2002/03 season.

Devcich fell for 70 with the score at 181, slowing the home side's progress as Jono Boult and Daryl Mitchell both fell cheaply before Jono Hickey joined Flynn for a period of consolidation.

Flynn was the fourth wicket to fall with the score at 229 in the 43rd over.

His dismissal brought Brad Wilson to the crease, who with Hickey put on a valuable partnership of 46 from 28 deliveries at a time when the innings looked unlikely to deliver on its earlier promise.

Powerful all-rounder Anurag Verma landed a couple of lusty blows off Jimmy Neesham before falling prey to some sharp work from Derek de Boorder, moving the score along to 292/6 with an over remaining.

Hickey played well again, adding an unbeaten 48 from 44 balls to get his side to 301/7 from their full complement, setting up what looked likely to be an enthralling chase.

Early wickets from Graeme Aldridge stifled that prospect before it had really begun, with openers Sam Wells and Aaron Redmond back in the hut with the score at 8/2.

Neil Broom and Neesham rebuilt the innings with a partnership of 86, but when both fell within the space of two overs the Volts were reduced to 103/4 in the 23rd over.

Contributions from Nathan McCullum (41) and de Boorder (31) gave the visitors a sniff, but they were always behind the eight ball on a pitch that suited the Knights' trio of spin bowlers.

Knights coach Grant Bradburn was pleased with the improved performance featuring subtle changes in bowling plans.

"It was a very good win, particularly with the way we played against Canterbury," said Bradburn. "To turn around a few things we knew we needed to improve was really satisfying."

Bradburn praised the roles Flynn, Devcich and relative newcomer Hickey played in the controlled display.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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