Cricket: Late-start game turns into windy gamble

By Anendra Singh

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Tarun Nethula
Tarun Nethula

Anytime the dodgy Duckworth-Lewis method kicks in, you may as well buy a lottery ticket.

With a delayed start at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, the demands became more unreasonable for the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags when rain kicked in during the Northern Districts Knights' innings.

"We would have needed a top start to be in with a shout," CD spinner Tarun Nethula said after the visitors claimed a 151-run victory after numbers were crunched under the DL method.

The 50-over Ford Trophy affair was reduced to a 38-over one but the peripheral impact of Cyclone Lusi meant CD captain Kieran Noema-Barnett and his men had to chase down the Knights' innings of 270-8 in a further reduced target.

"It was a delayed start and halfway through ND's innings it rained so it became a 33-over chase for CD," the Stags spinner explained.

"It was difficult conditions with absolute gale-force winds from one end of the wicket," he said, but he lauded the James Pamment-coached Knights for batting intelligently in the inclement weather.

ND opener Daniel Flynn scored 72 from 69 balls before falling prey to seamer Andrew Mathieson in the 24th over.

Flyn forged a 74-run partnership with Daryl Mitchell, who contributed 64 at first drop.

All the CD bowlers went for above 5.86 runs an over with The Station Napier Old Boys Marist opener Mathieson the most expensive at a shade under 10.

"We [the bowlers] started pretty steady but they [the batsmen] struck at the back end and got away with it," said Nethula, who claimed 2-48 and is sitting second on the trophy bowling rankings with nine scalps to date, one above Auckland Aces left-arm strike bowler Mitchell McClenaghan.

Seamers Seth Rance and Bevan Small also claimed two wickets each.

"It's nice to get a few [wickets] but it'd be nicer to contribute particularly to winning games," he said.

The Heinrich Malan-coached Stags' wheels came off in 24.5 overs to be all out for 104.

Opener Jamie How, who is the top run scorer in the competition with 315 to date, scored 25 from as many balls before he was run out while Nethula was unbeaten on 25 at No8.

ND opening bowler Scott Kuggeleijn claimed 4-31 to show why he is perched a rung above Nethula with two more wickets so far in the limited-overs campaign for the 2013-14 HRV Cup Twenty20 champions and Ford Trophy leaders.

The Stags, who have slipped to fourth place, host Canterbury Wizards at the same venue on Wednesday. The Otago Volts v Wellington Firebirds in Dunedin was abandoned without a ball bowled.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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