Cricket: Is it time for CD to pull pin on T20

By Anendra Singh

If desperation was going to be the catalyst for momentum then one could argue the Canterbury Wizards were definitely more needy of the two.

Consequently when the dust settled at Saxton Oval, Nelson, yesterday the "hosts" beat the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags by four wickets in their HRV Cup Twenty/20 match.

CD coach Alan Hunt isn't, understandably, very chirpy and not in the mood to reach for his cellphone after a defeat but Stags skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett and his troops must be starting to experience that sinking feeling in the most abbreviated format of the code this summer.

Effectively the game came down to an over or two of batting and bowling and a bloke called Gareth Andrew who bludgeoned an unbeaten 53 off 25 balls at No 6 for Canterbury to post their first victory.

The shoes, it seems, were on the other feet as the Gary Stead-coached Wizards collected their first points of the competition to perhaps start a down-table battle against CD for the woodenspooners with a win each.

They will reload tomorrow at the same venue but this time CD will be the hosts.

Opener Mathew Sinclair, top scoring with 38 after CD posted a just-like-kissing-your-sister 152-8 in 20 overs after winning the toss, said the Stags lost the game in the 15th-17th overs when trying to restrict Canterbury who eclipsed the target with 153-6 and seven balls to spare.

"We let ourselves down a little bit in those overs," Sinclair lamented after speed merchants Black Cap Adam Milne and Zimbabwe international Kyle Jarvis took some stick from a Mongoose bat-wielding Andrew and No 7 Todd Astle, who scored 25 runs before falling prey to Jarvis.

The veteran batsman, who found support Noema-Barnett (36 runs) and felt their 22-run knock in an over epitomised what T20 was all about, said Andrew provided the ideal platform for his fellow Cantabs to clobber sixes.

Conversely, Sinclair, emphasising he was no fast bowler, felt Milne and Jarvis needed to bowl to a plan, knuckling down to block-hole plan rather than deliveries shy of a length and possess a pack mentality.

Loathe to find excuses, he felt CD players coming in and out of the squad didn't help their campaign.

Retired Black Cap Jacob Oram and opening batsman Jamie How are on father duties while English import Peter Trego has left for Somerset after a season-ending abdominal tear.

Stressing it wasn't a red herring for the loss, Sinclair questioned whether charging $25 in tickets for the game on New Year's Day after the Christmas break was a good marketing move.

"It was a weird game at 2pm after a New Year's night and we're trying to lure more people to games so they should be able to afford it."

Stead was philosophical after the win, feeling they won their first game, which wasn't pretty, but other games were better although they came out as losers.

"Gareth and Todd got us out of a hole," the former White Ferns coach said, adding Andrew had scored an unbeaten 180 in the four-day Plunket Shield game and had the ability to hit balls cleanly.

"He hits the ball out of the park with a Mongoose bat," said Stead, pleased with how his bowlers stifled CD but 35 off two overs turned the Stags' fortunes around.

He felt Canterbury would fine-tune their hiccups for more freedom in tomorrow's match.

While enjoying coaching the men, Stead said he was finding out what made them tick as much as the players were becoming familiar with him as coach.

For the Stags, if speed is leading to road kill then bringing in opening batsman Jeet Raval, who offers a spin option, may be on the card although How may return after the arrival of a baby.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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