On the treacherous highways of twenty20 cricket, it pays to know that unbridled speed kills if you're a bowler who doesn't adhere to the discipline of line and length.

Sure, that's blatantly obvious but, akin to erratic drivers eager to travel from point A to B in unrealistic times, not everyone picks up on the road signs at pivotal points in the mad dash to abbreviated glory.

If you're a batsman, the threat of becoming road kill in the blink of an eye is ever present especially if one is tempted to put the foot down every time a seemingly endless straight stretch beckons.

That rang true in the round four Burger King Super Smash T20 match between the Northern Districts Knights and Central Districts Stags at Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui, last night.


The William Young-captained Stags followed the road rules to avoid the most potholes in the 49-run victory, which propelled them to fourth-equal place with the Wellington Firebirds on the dynamic standings from two wins and as many losses.

Young, who won the toss, was the ideal driver of the CD vehicle as they amassed 201-4 in their allotted 20 overs before stifling the hosts for 159-9 in a run chase where the wheels started coming off relatively early.

Like motorists who left their run too late, the Dean Brownlie-led Knights started cutting blind corners to make ground only to find themselves in all sorts of trouble.

It was hard to detract from what was in many respects was a collective performance from the Heinrich Malan-coached green army who teed up on the return of opening batsman Jesse Ryder and then called the bluff of the Knights through some superb deliveries from first-change bowler Blair Tickner, spinner Ajaz Patel, Bevan Small (1-22) and Ryan McCone (1-30).

The ND batsmen had taken a shine to opening seamer Ben Wheeler but Patel, who took 2-24 from four overs, kept them on check from the other end.

Tickner, who sat on a hattrick in his third over, showed his meteoric rise in domestic cricket to finish with the impressive figures of 4-24 although he couldn't emulate his hattrick feat of Plunket Shield this season.

"We kept restricting them with cutters," said the Ruahine Motors CHB seamer last night, emphasising they weren't shy to pull out any variation deliveries from their bag of tricks after learning from the mistakes of previous games.

Tickner said the plan always was to take scalps rather than trying to restrict as ND stuttered to 152-9 in 20 overs.


"We're now in a good position to push on to make the final spots," he said, before they reload against ND at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, on Saturday in round five although it won't be far from the Stags' mind how they beat Canterbury Kings in Nelson in round two but faltered against the same foes in Christchurch in round three.

Tickner said 250 was a par score at the picturesque but compact Puke Park, after they lost the opening round of the one-day Ford Trophy match to the Auckland Aces there.

Reflecting on his possible hattrick moment, the seamer said: "I don't expect to get them [hattricks] so I just bowl another ball."

Despite a fair whack of late Christmas gifts from umpires on lbw shouts and wide calls, the writing was on the wall for ND whose required run rate rose from 12 runs an over to almost 40 an over in the final overs.

The collective tune was in catches from the safe hands of Young, McCone and Tickner although Patel may take note of how it's imperative to get behind the stumps in trying to run out a batsman after he missed in his first attempt with his back to the furniture when Tickner had rifled the ball to him from long on. In a tighter affair that could have been the winning and losing of a game.

Young's captaincy was astute and wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver's agility and instincts were second to none although he'll also take note that it is unwise to desert his post behind the castle to chase a ball to the boundary when teammates can easily cover the area and need a safe pair of gloves on the receiving end to complete a run out.

In the visitors' innings, Ryder got the proceedings under way in his trademark style, finding boundaries and sixes almost at will but it was the spin of Joe Walker, coming in for Black Caps leg spinner Ish Sodhi, and the slow medium pace bowling of import Chris Jordan that stopped the haemorrhaging.

Ryder departed for 32 runs (23 balls), holing out to Jordan at long on off a Joe Walker slow delivery with CD at 62-1 in eight overs with the Wasp projected score at the 166 mark.

The 32-year-old's knocked included three boundaries and a six.

Third man Daniel Flynn caught CD opener Ben Smith for 29 off Daryl Mitchell whose slow offerings brought the run rate further down.

But Young got things going when he lofted part-timer Nick Kelly for a lusty six off his first ball as Cleaver joined the party to yield 12 runs off the over.

Cleaver showed promise before holing out to Peter Bocock at long off for nine runs from a Brent Arnel ball to leave CD at 106-3 in 12.4 overs.

Enter Joshua Clarkson before the skipper took Arnel's bait of an impotent bouncer straight into the hands of Kelly at deep square leg. Young scored 50 from 30 balls, including three boundaries and as many sixes with CD looking comfortable at 4-164.

With Clarkson unbeaten on 39 runs, newbie Christian Leopard took a couple of frustrating French cuts from a head-shaking Jordan who went for 19 runs in the penultimate over.

Kelly gave Clarkson another life when he dropped him at deep square leg but the CD No 5 and Big Barrel Napier Technical Old Boys allrounder Leopard pushed the Stags over the 200 mark.

Only Jordan, 29 not out from 14 balls, joined the 200-plus per cent club last night with Clarkson (208 per cent, 52 not out from 25 balls) and Leopard's 314.3 per cent (22/7, including five fours).

It's easy to ignore vital statistics in the euphoria of success but CD will have to take a hard look at gifting 14 extras, including nine wides, in their bowling effort.

Adding an over to a match is suicidal, never mind two.