Cricket: Day of drama ends in draw

By Kris Shannon

Aaron Redmond and Derek de Boorder (right) celebrate a wicket. Photo / ODT
Aaron Redmond and Derek de Boorder (right) celebrate a wicket. Photo / ODT

After a final day featuring drama, rain and one of the rarest dismissals in cricket, Otago's Plunket Shield match with Canterbury finished in an anticlimactic draw today.

With all three results in play and 10 overs remaining, the crowd at University Oval in Dunedin seemed set for a stirring finale as Otago needed 50 runs and Canterbury required four wickets.

But the home side decided to play it safe and settle for a draw, denying both the fans and a fast-finishing Wizards bowling attack.

When Otago were set 235 to win with 70 overs to play and rain in the region, the fate of the match was always in question. The Volts started conservatively and Aaron Redmond's 61 helped his side reached 117-2, before a quickfire double from Ben McCord pulled Canterbury back into the match.

With 15 overs to play Otago needed 91 with six wickets in hand and Jimmy Neesham looked determined to lead them home, hitting two fours from his first three balls.

But his dismissal, for a run-a-ball 21, and two more wickets saw Otago apply the brakes and coast to the finish.

The Volts were 33 runs short with three wickets in hand when Canterbury ran out of overs, drawing to a close one of the more exciting draws the Plunket Shield has seen.

Earlier in the day, Canterbury resumed their second innings with a lead of 216 runs and five wickets in hand but Peter Fulton, a centurion in both innings, was the first man out after adding only two to his overnight total of 106.

There wasn't much resistance from the Canterbury tail but there was some history. On his debut, Canterbury bowler Will Williams achieved something managed by only three other batsmen in New Zealand first class cricket.

After chopping a Jacob Duffy delivery into the ground and seeing it roll back towards the stumps, Williams wheeled around and palmed away the ball to be given out handled ball. Williams became the first man to be dismissed in such manner since former New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan 20 years ago.

Williams' wicket turned out to be the last to fall for Canterbury, as Fulton called his side in to set up a thrilling fourth innings.

Otago overtake Central Districts atop the standings thanks to their five first innings bonus points, while Canterbury climb off the foot of the table and into fifth spot.

- APNZ

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