The Northern Knights have bounced back after a disappointing result last match to comfortably beat the Central Stags by 25 runs in front of a strong crowd at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Ending with a total of 166, it was the highest score so far in the Georgie Pie Super Smash for the Knights who elected to bat first on a two paced deck which was predicted to turn late in the weekend.
Travis Birt proved why he is arguably the Knights’ most valuable re-signing this season, smashing a solid 68 while being the aggressive anchor for the batting effort throughout the innings after finding himself at the crease early.
Birt was helped by Dean Brownlie who put in one of his best innings yet in Knights colors.
The former Cantab batsmen got to 35 before being caught and bowled by Stags spinner Ajaz Patal.
There has been much talk about the Knights failing to capitalize on the opportunities for big scores with the bat so far in this campaign, but Daryl Mitchell helped Birt work the Knights to their tournament best 166 total, a score that was looking like a long lost hope at the halfway point in the innings as the Knights began to slump.
Mitchell kept his wicket secure, finishing with a very respectable 35.
But the strike rate was the more telling factor, 140 and Mitchell’s best in the Georgie Pie Super Smash thus far.
The Central Stags run chase looked unlikely from the get go, Mitchell Satner and Scott Kuggeleijn keeping the overs tight early on.
The Knights went with four spinners in the game with the turning pitch.
Satner, in his first outing in the Georgie Pie Super Smash, nabbed the wicket of George Worker, before Aussie import Ben Laughlin broke the hugely important Stags pairing of Jamie How and Kieran Noema-Barnett when Barnett held out in the field to Kuggeleijn to have the Stags sitting at 61/3 after 10 overs.
The final nail was put into the Central Stags coffin when captain Jamie How was dismissed by Ben Laughlin for a valiant 29.
Despite a defiant 34 by Stags wicketkeeper Kruger Van Wyk late in the innings, the Stags were never going to win.
The win sees the Knights in a strong position on the Georgie Pie Super Smash ladder, though there is still a lot of cricket remaining, including the sell out crowd waiting for the Knights down in Canterbury on Thursday afternoon.
The result also saw the strongest crowd attendance for the Super Smash so far.