1st Match: Central Districts v Canterbury at New Plymouth, 2 Jan 2002|
Central Districts innings:
CANTERBURY CRUSH CDA sparkling century form 77 balls by Craig McMillan overshadowed Matthew Sinclair's return to form as Canterbury beat New Zealand one-day champions Central Districts by five wickets in a State Shield match at Pukekura Park today.
McMillan turned on an outstanding display of power-hitting as Canterbury overtook Central's total of 213-5 in only 35.3 overs and two and a half hours to take maximum points from the first round match. He was unbeaten on 109 when Darron Reekers completed the victory by hoisting the third ball of the 36th over over midwicket for six.
McMillan reached his half century and century with sixes - the 50 in 68 minutes and the 100 in 121 minutes with eight fours and six sixes. He came to the wicket in only the second over, when Canterbury was 4-1, and steered them to an effortless victory.
Earlier, Matthew Sinclair had made a timely return to form, making 90 in front of national selection convenor Sir Richard Hadlee to anchor Central's innings. In contrast to McMillan's innings which was full of ambitious strokeplay, Sinclair's was a controlled and determined innings which included eight fours.
By way of contrast there were 23 fours and no sixes in Central's innings of 303 balls and 175 minutes and 22 fours and nine sixes in Canterbury's much shorter reply.
McMillan's innings was a constant delight, an adventure in strokeplay. He relished Pukekura Park's close dquare boundaries, hitting sixes to every quarter of the ground. His first was hoisted high over long off and disappeared into New Plymouth's botanical gardens pursued by a bevy of excited children.
He hit another into the steep northern terrace, which bounced at least nine levels up on the tiered bank and another which bounced spectacularly off a colourful beach umbrella only a few levels below.
Reekers hit two sixes, including the match-winning shot, and Chris Cairns hit another.
There was huge anticpation of the McMillan-Cairns partnership and the damage the Black Caps pair might wreak on such an intimate ground. In fact, the partnership as brief as it was spectacular, adding 42 in 17 minutes before Cairns was out for 17.
Sinclair's hand in Central's innings was only slightly less dominating in the context of that performance. He was at the crease in only the third over when Central was 10-1 and he remained till the 49th over, falling when they were 205-5.
He had partnerships of 83 for the third wicket with Ben Smith and 95 for the fifth wicket with Richard King who went on to a half century from 82 balls, bringing up his 50 from the last ball of the innings.
Smith was out for 48, one of the victims of a strong middle order bowling performance from Chris Harris and Carl Anderson that limited Central's score. Both bowled their 10 overs consecutively, Harris at a cost of 48 runs and Anderson for 33.
Canterbury were 95-2 at the drinks break, responding to Central's 213-5, and McMillan was 49, looming as a huge threat to Central's modest total.
His scoring shots included a huge six over long off from Andrew Schwass which disappeared into the trees at the eastern end of the ground, pursued by an enthusiastic posse of children.
McMillan adopted a bizarre stance at times, batting square to the wicket and presenting a full chest to the bowler. The stance seemed an intentional warning from McMillan that he would punish anything remotely loose.
He playe some florrid drives, including a crashing four from Glen Sulzberger which followed the path of his six but he was also able to bat with deliberation and restraint.
McMillan's captain Gary Stead was with him and had participated in a 55-run stand for the third wicket before drinks.
Earlier, Michael Papps was out for one and Brad Doody was run out for 21.
Sinclair, who struggled for form on New Zealand's tour of Australia and who remained hesitant in a few domestic innings this season, struck form a day ahead of the announcement of the Black Caps team to cross the Tasman for the Tri-Nations one-day series.
He came to the crease in the third over when Central was 10-1 and he remained till the fourth ball of the 49th over when he was caught on the long-off boundary by Carl Anderson from Chris Cairns' bowling for 90.
Sinclair revived the Central innings, after the dismissal of Jamie How for 7 left them 22-2, with partnerships of 83 with Ben Smith for the third wicket and 95 with Richard King for the fifth. King reached his own half century from the last ball of the innings and was left 50 not out, another vital contribution to Central's cause.
But Central's 213 at slightly more than four runs per over seemed an insubstantial total on a ground which traditionally produces high-scoring one day matches and particularly in light of the return to the Canterbury side of one-day sluggers Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns.
Chris Harris and Anderson limited Central's scoring through the middle of the innings when they each bowled 10 overs consecutively. Harris conceded only 33 runs and took the wicket of Glen Sulzberger, stumped by Gareth Hopkins without scoring, while Anderson dismissed the dangerous Smith for 48 and had 1-42.
International pacemen Shane Bond, Chris Martin and Chris Cairns had mixed results. Martin discharged his 10 overs for 36 runs but claimed no wickets. Bond removed Kelly in the third o vedr and How in the 7th but saw his figures damaged when Sinclair and King took 14 runs from his penultimate over. He finished with 2-51 while Cairs had 1-48 and was too often short of an effective length.
Sinclair's 90 came from 117 balls - not a rapid rate by the standards of Pukekura Park where the short boundaries often lead to extraordinary scoring feats. He hit eight boundaires while King's 50 included five fours from 83 balls. There were only 22 fours in the Central innings, an unusually low percentage on this ground.
Sinclair was 70 and Central were 153-4 when players stopped for the second drinks break of the innings after 41 overs. He had provided the soul of the innings, coming to the wicket when Central was 10-1 after the loss of opener David Kelly, losing Jamie How only 12 runs later, then forming partnerships of 83 for the third wicket with Ben Smith and 43 with Richard King before drinks.
But neither Sinclair's nor Central's scoring rate was as rapid as a genial batting strip should have allowed. Sinclair reached his half century from 81 balls with only four boundaries and Central was scoring at fewer than four runs per over with only nine overs remaining.
Smith helped Central revive their innings after the loss of Kelly and How to the bowling of Shane Bond. He seemed headed for his own half century when he was caught and bowled by Carl Anderson in the 27th over when he was 48.
Central captain Glen Sulzberger followed quickly and without scoring, stumped by Gareth Hopkins from Chris Harris' bowling in the 28th over when Central was 105.
Harris discharged his 10 overs for 33 runs, claiming Sulzberger's wickert, and Anderson bowled 10 for 42, removing Smith.
Pukekura Park is typically a ground that produces boundaries in abundance during one day matches but today fours made up an unusually small proportion of Central's total and there were no sixes by the second drinks break.
Sinclair, whose lack of form has been a lengthy concern to the selectors was 29 not out when drinks were taken and Central, batting first after winning the toss, were 74-2.
He had added 52 for Central's third wicket with Ben Smith who was 26 not out at the break. The pair came together after Central had lost David Kelly for 8 when they were 10 and Jamie How for 7 when they were 22.
Sinclair accumulated runs steadily with pushes and deflections on both sides of the wicket but he boosted his personal total and Central's with successive fours from Chris Cairns in the 15th over.
Shane Bond took both Central wickets in an opening spell which returned 2-25 from five overs. He bowled Kelly in the third over of the innings and trapped How lbw in the seventh.
Few cricket grounds provide a better backdrop or a better vantage point for one-day cricket than this intimate oval which is surrounded on three sides by towering natural terraces and which leans on the northern side of New Plymouth's botanical gardens.
A warm and sunny day - it's already 22 degreesand humid - and the attraction of the return of Black Caps Matthew Sinclair to the Central Districts side and Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan and Shane Bond to Canterbury will boost the crowd to capacity.
The pitch for the match is the one on which Canterbury beat Central by 102 runs in the State Championship match that ended here two days ago.
That pitch provided more than 1200 runs in four days and provided good pace and consistent bounce into the final day. It remains hard and even, with only a few hairline fissures to tesify to four days of hard use.
Canterbury have left Warren Wisneski and Paul Wiseman out of their starting lineup, displacing those players along with Wade Cornelius from their Championship XI. The fact both are former internationals testifies to the strength of the Canterbury squad.
Wiseman will act as fielding 12th man.
Sinclair bolsters the Central lineup while Richard Scragg has been named 12th man.
Central won the toss and chose to bat.
There is already a buzz of anticipation around the ground of what might happen if, later today, Cairns and McMillan find their best batting form on this ground of very short square boundaries. A mere dropkick from either play would send the ball sailing onto the terraced banks and would involve spectators much more closely in the match than they might imagine.
Central: David Kelly, Jamie How, Matthew Sinclair, Ben Smith, Glen Sulzberger (captain), Richard King, Campbell Furlong, Bevan Griggs, Andrew Schwass, Brent Hefford, Michael Mason, Richard Scragg (12th man)..
Canterbury: Brad Doody, Michael Papps, Craig McMillan, Gary Stead (captain), Chris Harris, Gareth Hopkins, Chris Cairns, Darron Reekers, Shane Bond, Carl Anderson, Chris Martin, Paul Wiseman (12th man).
Date-stamped : 02 Jan2002 - 15:36