NZ Cricket beefs up night component

By David Leggat

Ten full rounds of the first-class Plunket Shield competition will be split in half across the summer, the break kicking in from just before Christmas to late January.  File photo /  Brett Phibbs
Ten full rounds of the first-class Plunket Shield competition will be split in half across the summer, the break kicking in from just before Christmas to late January. File photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand Cricket have beefed up the night cricket component in next summer's T20 domestic competition.

Buoyed by good returns from using the Friday night slot on Sky Sport, NZC have scheduled HRV Cup T20 games on both Friday and Saturday nights in the first five weeks of the competition in November.

Temporary lights will be used at University Oval in Dunedin and Christchurch's Hagley Oval, which will host the opening game against Central Districts on November 1.

Hamilton's Seddon Park will host the preliminary and final on January 17 and 19.

Ten full rounds of the first-class Plunket Shield competition will be split in half across the summer, the break kicking in from just before Christmas to late January.

By interesting twist, suspended batsman Jesse Ryder's return to the first-class game for Otago is expected to take place against his old province, Wellington, at the Basin Reserve, starting on October 27, a week after his six-month ban for testing positive to banned stimulants ends.

The 50-over Ford Trophy, played again over eight rounds, runs through March and brings the curtain down on the season with the final on April 5.

NZC general manager domestic cricket David Cooper said the feeling is the programme will provide plenty of chances for fans to see cricket.

Twenty venues will be used, including Palmerston North, which is subject to getting an NZC warrant of fitness.

NZC has scheduled some teams to play back-to-back games, in a new exercise, such as Auckland hosting Central Districts from December 4-7, then heading to Napier to play the return match five days later.

- NZ Herald

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