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Homecoming party - McMillan, Harris rule

Kevin Tutty
25 January 1999

Craig McMillan made an immediate impact on his return to the Canterbury one-day cricket team helping it secure a place in the Shell Cup semi-finals.

Canterbury beat Central Districts by 79 runs at Jade Stadium last night. It finished third in the round-robin competition and will play Auckland at home on Saturday night.

McMillan and fellow New Zealand representative Chris Harris, paved the way for Canterbury's 298 for five from 50 overs, a task that was always going to be difficult for Central Districts.

Central made a bold start, but when Mark Priest took a wicket in each of his first two overs and Central was reduced to 76 for three, its hopes of salvaging the innings rested on the shoulders of its two most experienced players, Craig Spearman and Mark Douglas.

Canterbury coach Garry MacDonald confessed to being worried while Spearman and Douglas were at the wicket.

``They went about their business quite well and as long as they were together, Central always had a chance. They made it look easy and they are both dangerous batsmen.

``If one of them had gone on to get a 100, Central would have won the game.''

Spearman was untroubled to reach 69 in 69 balls, but was needlessly run out taking a quick single and any semblance of the win disappeared with him. For a while the pair rolled along nicely, but when the partnership was broken wickets fell at regular spells and Canterbury won with 8.5 overs to spare.

By contrast, Canterbury made an impressive start. Hamish Barton was dismissed early, but Llorne Howell and McMillan featured in a partnership of 70 off just 68 balls. Howell, who had batted with commendable diligence finally had a rush of blood, charged Glen Findlay and fell four runs short of 50.

McMillan was joined by Harris and the two went about gathering runs steadily. McMillan played two risky shots that could have brought his downfall, but continued to play in his typically forceful mode. It was almost expected that he would reach 50, which he did in 39 balls.

The partnership of 80 in 98 balls with Harris was broken by Michael Mason who had McMillan caught on the boundary.

McMillan's 75 came from 64 balls and included eight fours and a six.

Gary Stead made a brief appearance with Harris, but the real damage to the Central attack was done in the last 10 overs.

Harris, who had been circumspect, increased the tempo and was partnered first by Warren Wisneski and then Shane Bond to thrash the Central attack. Wisneski cracked 36 from 24 balls and Bond played a gem, hitting 22 from seven balls, including a six, which was caught by David Kelly as he tumbled over the boundary rope.

Just how subdued Harris played was illustrated by his boundary count. His 78 not out came from 101 balls and included two fours and two sixes.

Central was well up with the run rate for the first 10 overs. Kelly and Glenn Milnes kept the run rate over five in those 10 overs, but the introduction of Priest, who deceived first Milnes and then Matthew Sinclair reined back the Central run rate.

Spearman and Douglas lifted it again briefly, but after the last five wickets fell for 35 runs, the chase proving too difficult for the Central lower order.

Source: The Christchurch Press
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