The Northern Knights are off to a winning start in the McDonald’s Super Smash, but in many ways their victory was a lucky one.
Beating the Wellington Firebirds by 8-runs in a last-over thriller, the Knights managed to get away with setting a poor target for the visitors.
It was a lucky escape for the Knights, and they can thank their win to all-rounder Daryl Mitchell who took four wickets in a deadly spell of bowling.
Mitchell put the Firebirds in all sorts of trouble during their run chase. Two of his wickets included the big scalps of Michael Papps and Hamish Marshall early in the piece.
The Firebirds left themselves with a chance, requiring 23-runs from the final two overs, but they didn’t have the wickets left in the bag that they’d have liked. Tom Blundell, the anchor for the Firebirds’ run chase, was dismissed late in the piece on 63, all but sealing victory for the Knights.
The Firebirds crumbled and will be bitterly disappointed with their middle order’s performance with the bat. Chasing a fairly pedestrian target of 143 on a good batting deck in Hamilton, the Firebirds lost regular wickets just like the Knights had when they batted earlier in the day.
Ben Laughlin took two wickets, once again proving his worth for the Knights in his fourth season with the team.
The Knights had scratched their way to set a below-par score of 142 all out as several of their key batsmen also failed to fire.
Joseph Carter helped get the Knights off to a perfect start. After a poor run of form recently in four-day cricket, Carter was promoted to the top of the order and swung the bat freely. The left-hander got himself to
Australian international Nathan Reardon chipped in with 34 in his first innings for the Knights.
Wickets fell at regular intervals as batsmen didn’t allow themselves to get set at the crease. Key batters fell, including the talented Nick Kelly and Tim Seifert who were both clean bowled after facing limited deliveries.
Blackcap all-rounder Corey Anderson tried to revive the Knights innings, sticking around for a good innings of 30-runs before being dismissed.
In an ironic twist, it was Brent Arnell, a former Knights bowler, who did the most damage with the ball for the Firebirds.