New Zealand's growth as a source of T20 players for the global leagues was highlighted in a stunning elimination game in the Caribbean Premier League yesterday.
The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, with man of the match Anton Devcich, chased down the Jamaica Tallawahs' 191 for five to put up the highest score made on the Providence ground in Guyana.
Jamaica included Auckland wicketkeeper-batsman Glenn Phillips, who crunched his second T20 century, a rollicking 103 off 63 balls, senior batsman Ross Taylor, who hit a quick 33, legspinner Ish Sodhi, who peeled off three for 36 in his four overs — including the wicket of veteran dangerman Chris Gayle — and allrounder Colin de Grandhomme, whose contribution was minimal.
The Patriots had Devcich, with his 50 off 23 balls, which pulled them back into the contest from a seemingly hopeless position.
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Allrounder Rovman Powell then had a complete meltdown, serving up four wides and two sixes in the final over, with 15 needed. Australian Ben Cutting swung the penultimate ball into the crowd to advance his team to the final eliminator against the Trinbago Knight Riders tomorrow in Port-of-Spain.
The Knight Riders boast Brendon McCullum and Colin Munro. The winner tomorrow will face Guyana Amazon Warriors, who include Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill, in Monday's final.
The two top runmakers in the CPL are Munro, with 470 at 47.0 and a strike rate of 140.71; and Phillips with 457 at 41.5 and a 146.9 SR.
New Zealand players are becoming a hotter commodity in the shortest-form leagues than they were a few seasons ago.
There are two places left to fill in New Zealand's T20 squad to play Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates later this year.
Phillips' previous T20 century was an unbeaten 116 for Auckland against Central Districts at Eden Park in January last year. He is in the NZ A squad playing in the UAE around the same time, and hasn't done his chances of getting one of the two vacancies any harm.