Cricket: Jesse Ryder blasts Central Districts into one-day final

By Niall Anderson

Jesse Ryder blasting his traditional leg-side boundaries. Photo / www.photosport.nz
Jesse Ryder blasting his traditional leg-side boundaries. Photo / www.photosport.nz

A composed century from a current Black Caps opener has been eclipsed by a brutal century from a former Black Caps opener in an astonishing Ford Trophy semifinal showdown.

Tom Latham looked like he had sent Canterbury through to the one-day final with a sedate and elegant 126 from 135 balls, but Jesse Ryder's belligerent 136 from 114 balls gave Central Districts a remarkable triumph.

Chasing 295 for victory, Central looked dead and buried at 105-6, but a sensational record partnership of 163 from 126 balls between Ryder and Ben Wheeler turned the tables in phenomenal fashion.

Ryder laid waste to the Canterbury bowling attack in his traditional stand-and-deliver style, blasting 13 fours and seven sixes in a career-best one-day knock.

He feasted upon Todd Astle in particular, blasting the recently dropped Black Caps leggie all over the Hagley Oval ground.

Astle aided his cause with some woeful full-tosses as he went for 84 from his 10 overs, the majority coming from the bat of Ryder.

Wheeler was Ryder's trusty foil throughout the onslaught, also reaching a career-best with an unbeaten 80 from 77 balls, and hitting the winning runs with three balls and two wickets remaining.

Canterbury will be ruing not giving Latham more support, with nobody else managing to pass 33 in an innings which required some big hitting around Latham's anchoring knock.

Central now have hosting rights for the final, but who they will play is yet to be determined, with top qualifiers Canterbury getting a second chance against Otago, after they swept aside Auckland in the minor semifinal.

Auckland - 10 time winners of the competition - were never in the contest against an Otago team which has started to get excellent contributions from their classy top order.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Otago continued their recent run-scoring barrage, making an intimidating 312-7 on the Queen's Park wicket.

Neil Broom was the star, setting the Otago record for most runs in a one-day season during his superb 109. He shared a 158-run partnership for the second wicket with Michael Bracewell (69), at the same time keeping the run-rate over five an over to allow acceleration later in the innings.

That acceleration came from Jimmy Neesham, who found some much-needed form with a 54-ball 59 to set Auckland a challenging chase.

It was a chase which proved too difficult for the young Auckland batting lineup, as promising Otago seamer Jacob Duffy snared three wickets in his first four overs.

When Colin de Grandhomme departed an over later, Auckland were 45-4 and faced a steep climb back into contention; a climb that proved insurmountable as regular wickets fell.

Eventually, their slow demise was curtailed by the rain with 16 overs left in their innings, falling to a 125-run defeat via the Duckworth-Lewis system.

Otago have now won five straight games, and will play Canterbury on Wednesday to determine who will be facing Central in Saturday's final.

- NZ Herald

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