Cricket: Central batters lead the way

By Greg Taipari

Thanks to a performing top order, Central have found themselves leading the Rotorua senior reserves 40-over series with one round remaining.

With Central opening batsman Ben Fraser finding form at the right end of the season, Central have again picked up another win and defended the Grantleys Liquor Merchants Challenge Cup.

Fraser scored 52 in his side's six-wicket win over Taupo Wanderers at the weekend, the left-hander's third successive half century in as many weeks.

The Wanderers won the toss and decided to take advantage of the home pitch at Owen Delany Park by batting first. However, the plan back-fired when the home side were bowled out in the 34th over for 141, with Blain Inch top-scoring with a well struck 59.

Central had little difficulty chasing down the total in the 28th over.

Fraser top-scored with Jared Anderson and Richard Downs scoring 27 and 21 respectively.

In the upset of the round the Bay of Plenty Indians beat Geyser City.

Winning the toss, the Indians sent Geyser into bat at Ray Boord Park. Geyser got away to a reasonable start scoring 44 runs for the first wicket.

However, things got progressively worse for the top order with only middle order batswoman Katie Johnson and lower order batsman Chris Nairn offering any real resistance.

Geyser managed to score 198/9 in their allotted overs with Steven Thompson the best of the Indian bowlers with 4/46 followed by Pruffall Moraji 2/18.

The Indians had little trouble getting the total by the 35th over with the loss of only two wickets thanks to a majestic 100 not out by B Das.

The latest round means three teams share the lead - Central, Geyser and Taupo Wanderers. With the reserve grade expected to have a rest this week due to Te Matatini, the final round will be played on March 2.

There is a strong possibility two teams can end up with equal points after the final round. However, the team with the highest net rate (runs for divided by wickets against) will get the top spot, leading into the semifinals.

Central leads the competition on 18 points and net rate of 26.19 followed by Geyser net rate 18 (22.88) and Wanderers 18 (17.92).

- Rotorua Daily Post

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