Rotorua's Bayleys Central Indians are sitting fifth in the Baywide Twenty20 Championship after rounds five and six were played in Tauranga yesterday.
Round seven will be played next Saturday, before the final later in the afternoon. However, Greerton and Mount Maunganui have already done enough to ensure it will be they who play out the decider.
In round five yesterday, Central Indians produced a convincing win over Bond & Co Tauranga Boys' College. The Rotorua side batted first and smashed their way to a total of 174/5. Aaron Bennett top scored with 55 and Ben Sandford scored 54. Tim Pringle was the best of the bowlers with three wickets for just 15 runs.
Tauranga Boys' could only manage 122/6 in their 20 overs. Tim Clarke scored 41 not out and Niven Dovey scored 27.
Central Indians batted first again in their round six encounter with Greerton and posted a respectable target of 121/8. First innings honours belonged to Lovely Sidhu with 33 runs and Josh Ormrod and Henry Collier with three wickets apiece. Shaun McCarthy anchored a successful run chase for Greerton with an unbeaten 33, while Lee Watkins and Pip Thickpenny also made useful contributions.
Defending champions Carrus Mount Maunganui booked their spot in the final when they beat longtime rivals Element IMF Cadets in round six.
After sitting out the round five bye in the morning, the Mount side struggled with the opposition bowling on what turned out to be a bowlers' paradise, being removed for just 56. Dan Smith was the only Mount Maunganui batsman to reach the 20s. Cadets captain Jono Boult took aim with his off-breaks to claim five wickets for 22 runs while Kamal Bains and Jacob Logan took two cheap wickets each.
Cadets were then bowled out for 46, with the second ball of the 18th over, as the Mount Maunganui bowlers successfully defended what looked to be a very modest total. The Cadets top score of 14 showed the dominance of the Mount's slow bowlers. Craig Baldry, who joined Mount Maunganui from Tauranga Boys' College at the start of the season, weaved his magic with the ball to take five wickets at a cost of just 10 runs.
Meanwhile, Mount Maunganui's opposition in next week's final, Greerton, were never troubled in their two games yesterday, winning both with seven wickets to spare.
In round five Greerton beat GM Painters Lake Taupō CC, bowling them out for just 75. Taupō skipper Hashim Malik top scored with 24, while Lee Watkins and Dan Spencer took three-wicket hauls. The current Baywide and Williams Cup title holders cruised home, with new club recruit Henry Collier there at the end with an unbeaten 60 runs.
The final round of qualifying play on Saturday, January 19 will be the entrée to the T20 title decider. The Cadets' last round bye ensures that Mount Maunganui and Greerton have already banked enough points to meet in the final.
Bay of Plenty Cricket Baywide Twenty20
Saturday at Fergusson Park
Bayleys Central Indians 174/5 (A Bennett 55, B Sandford 54; T Pringle 3/15) beat Bond & Co Tauranga Boys' College 122/6 (T Clarke 41no, N Dovey 27)
GM Painters Lake Taupō CC 75 (H Malik 24; L Watkins 3/14, D Spencer 3/15, J Tutty 2/7) lost to Eves Realty Greerton 81/3 (H Collier 60no)
Element IMF Cadets beat New World Te Puke
Carrus Mount Maunganui 56 (D Smith 22; J Boult 5/22, K Bains 2/4, J Logan 2/8) beat Element IMF Cadets 46 (C Baldry 5/10, T Goodin 2/8)
Bayleys Central Indians 121/8 (L Sidhu 33. J Rowe 22; J Ormrod 3/22, H Collier 3/25) lost to Eves Realty Greerton 122/3 (S McCarthy 33no, L Watkins 27, P Thickpenny 23; S Nichols 2/25)
New World Te Puke 195/5 (D Price 74no, T Bridgman-Raison 43, S Crossan 29; M Rivers 2/31) beat GM Painters Lake Taupō CC 107/7 (EW Williams 43no; I Singh 4/25)
Greerton 27, Mount Maunganui 24, Cadets 18, Lake Taupo CC 12, Central Indians 12, Te Puke 9, Tauranga Boys College 6.