CD v Firebirds
HRV Cup T20
McLean Park, Napier
THE crowd sympathy was with deposed New Zealand cricket captain Ross Taylor last night after his unceremonious dumping but no one would have left McLean Park, Napier, either with any doubts that "homeboy" Jesse Ryder is ready to grace the international arena again.
The Wellington Firebirds opener scored a quick-fire 75 runs in their HRV Cup Twenty/20 victory over Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags with buzzing CD fans clapping and cheering the former Hawke's Bay cricketer.
After just 3.5 overs Ryder and fellow opener Michael Pollard brought up their 50-run partnership as the visitors posted a daunting total of 214-5, demanding a double-figure run rate.
It wasn't so much that he looked informidable - regrettably for CD, debutant Ajaz Patel and Doug Bracewell both dropped Ryder in Andrew Mathieson's first over and only 3.2 overs into the game - but it was the sweet sound of confidence middled off Ryder's willow that probably resonated all the way to the dimly-lit corridors of the Black Caps' think-tank.
He brought up his 50 from a gobsmacking 16 balls with a lusty six off offspinner Marty Kain.
If the message speed kills didn't get through to stand-in CD skipper Jamie How, it would have as Ryder got stuck into Adam Milne and Doug Bracewell at will.
Milne went for 12 runs (11 to Ryder, including a six and four) in his opening over while Bracewell haemorrhaged 19 runs from his first over at Milne's end as first change.
The second wasn't any better for Milne, coming from the Hastings City end, as he went for 19 (6, 4, 4, 1, 4).
Debutant left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel got a harsh introduction to the Ryder riot act, going for 17 off his first over.
Mathieson also went for 17 off his first over but in his fourth ball of the second over of his second spell, the former ND rep took the construction work on his own shoulders, rattling Ryder's furniture for 75 runs.
The former Napier Technical Old Boys cricketer, who has indicated through his manager he'll return at his own time to international cricket, had faced 26 deliveries, including nine boundaries and six sixes.
NTOB premier club captain and Ryder's friend, George Diack, said last night the former CD batsman had indicated to him before the game he wanted to assert himself.
"He looked like an angry man and he simply wanted top prove a point," Diack said of the former Napier Boys' High School student who honed his batting prowess at the Tech club before cutting a track to the capital city after falling foul of CD coaches.
Diack said spectators shouldn't have been surprised considering he was playing on his home ground and the "best batting wicket in the country" that world-class head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff had prepared at a venue that traditionally favours batsmen.
"Jesse's in the best head space I've ever seen him."
His departure triggered off a mini-collapse with Pollard, Michael Papps and Luke Ronchi departing cheaply within three overs although James Franklin was unbeaten on 42 at No 3.
A cross-dressing pitch invader in a pink outfit put off Grant Elliott, who went out for 50 in the next ball - the first ball of the last over - but the Stags could have done with that sort of distraction in the opening overs.
In their run chase, CD lost surprise opener Kain in the first ball of their innings but were above the required strike rate soon after.
But it was always going to be a tall order after they found themselves at 59-4 after six overs as batsmen came and went with the monotony of customers at a supermarket express checkout aisle.
The Alan Hunt-coached Stags steadied the ship with William Young top scoring with 34 runs from 27 balls but CD eventually stuttered to 159-9 in 19 overs.
How, Mathew Sinclair, Carl Cahopa and Milne all got into double-figures but no one really asserted himself to build a solid foundation for a winning run chase.
Wellington opener Chris Woakes took 3-27 from his four overs.
Allrounder Bracewell did not bat.
"Dougie got hit on the end of the his thumb when he dropped the Ryder catch so he couldn't grip the bat properly," Stags assistant coach Lance Hamilton said last night, adding Bracewell would have an X-ray today to determine the extent of the injury before deciding where he would feature in other games.
"We just can't drop catches like that," Hamilton said of the defeat that leaves the Stags win-less after two rounds.
Ryder was pivotal in spearheading Wellington to victory in the opening round of the four-day Plunket Shield match at Nelson Park, Napier, in the season opener, too.
The Stags, who are the defending one-day Ford Trophy champions, are leading on the first-class competition table.
From the HRV Cup T20 match between Central Districts Stags v Wellington Firebirds at McLean Park, Napier, last night:
Toss: CD won, bowled.
J Ryder b Mathieson 75
M Pollard run out (How) 28
J Franklin not out 42
M Papps c Sinclair b Bracewell 0
L Ronchi c Milne b Cachopa 15
G Elliott c Young b Milne 50
S Kuggeleijn not out 0
Extras (0b, 0Lb, 3w, 0nb): 4
Total (for 5wkts, 20 overs): 214
Fall: 1-105, 2-105, 3-106, 4-124, 5-207
Bowling: AF Milne (4overs-0m-49r-1w-0wd-0nb), M Kain (4-0-35-0-1-0), DAJ Bracewell (2-0-23-1-0-0), AW Mathieson (4-0-45-1-1-1), AY Patel (3-0-37-0-0-0), C Cachopa (3-0-24-1-0-0).
P Trego c Pollard b Kuggeleijn 16
M Kain c Papps b Woakes 0
J How b Woakes 14
M Sinclair c J Ryder b Hutchinson 21
C Cachopa run out (Pollard) 10
W Young c Pollard b Woodcock 34
BS Smith lbw b Elliott 19
A Milne not out 18
A Patel b Hutchinson 9
A Mathieson c Ronchi b Woakes 7
Extras (4b, 1Lb, 6w, 0nb): 11
Total: (for 9 wkts, 19 overs): 159
Fall: 1-1, 2-26, 3-50, 4-54, 5-69 , 6-116, 7-130, 8-146 , 9-159
Bowling: C Woakes (4-0-27-3-0-0) L Woodcock (4-0-34-1-2-0), D Hutchinson (3-0-34-2-1-0), S Kuggeleijn (3-0-25-1-3-0), J Patel (3-0-18-0-0-0), G Elliott (2-0-16-1-0-0).
Result: Firebirds won by 55 runs.
12th men: A Lamb (CD Stags), H Boam (Wellington Firebirds).
Umpires: CB Gaffaney and MD Martell.
Scorers: Duncan Mitchell and Bev Baker.