24th Match: Northern Districts v Otago at Hamilton, 20 Jan 2002|
Northern Districts innings:
MATCH ABANDONEDDespite the hard work of the Westpac Trust Park groundstaff, play has been abandoned. After so much rain in recent weeks there was nowhere for the water to go.
Northern Districts and Otago take two points each for an abandoned fixture. That is enough to secure ND's place in the knock-out stage of the State Shield and to maintain the challenge for top spot.
Otago have lost ground, and are now heavily dependent on other results going their way if they are to stay in the competition. They play Wellington at the Basin Reserve on Tuesday, while ND face Auckland in Westpac Trust Park's first day/night match.
Pools of water lie on the flat covers and on several places on the outfield. The mopping-up operation is underway, but will be prolonged.
The ND innings has ended at 130/4 off 34.3 overs. James and Hamish Marshall's fourth-wicket partnership of 112 has placed their team in a favourable position for the Duckworth/Lewis calculations that are now under way.
The Otago innings must consist of a minimum of 30 scheduled overs for the game to be completed. This means that play must begin by 5.50pm.
In a 34-over innings Otago would have to chase a target of 183, that is to say that would have to get 53 more than ND in fewer overs. This will bemuse most spectators, but shows the value of the Duckworth/Lewis system.
With 15 overs remaining and six wickets in hand, ND might have expected to have finished with a score well over 200, a challenging chase for Otago. Their D/L target attempts to set them the same degree of difficulty as they would have faced had the rain not intervened.
This assumes that there will be more play, which is far from certain. Otago face the possibility of a second rain out in three days, though they are not as well placed here as they were at Eden Park on Friday.
The Marshall brothers dominated the middle phase of the innings with a busy and sensible partnership of 112 for the fourth wicket, beating by one run the ND fourth-wicket record against Otago, made by Barry Cooper and Grant Bradburn at Mt Maunganui in 1994.
James Marshall dominated the strike and the scoring in the early phase of the stand. Hamish's first boundary did not come until his fifty-sixth delivery when he straight drove Pryor for four back over his head a ball after surviving a run out referral to the third umpire. He had earlier been denied when another straight drive off Sewell was blocked by the ample frame of umpire Ian Shine.
The medium-pace trumvirate of Pryor, Sewell and Canning was tidy, but unthreatening without the extra pace needed to take advantage of the bouncy nature of the pitch.
With the need to break the partnership growing urgent it was no surprise to see Kerry Walmsley reintroduced from the Members' End for the twenty-seventh over. Walmsley's two overs did not achieve a breakthrough and he was replaced by the off spin of Nathan McCullum.
James McMillan returned from the City End, but the change only increased the scoring rate, Hamish Marshall deftly lifting a short ball over gully between the two offside boundary fielders.
James Marshall was out just as the thunder began to rumble. He was caught behind off a thin edge off McCullum for 49, equalling his highest Shield score of the season. Ian Shine passed the responsibility to third umpire Terry Parlane, who is commendably quick with his decisions. Marshall might have got away with it, were it not for the presence of the cameras.
Though the special effects have been spectacular, the storm has not brought much rain so far, so we hope that the delay will not be lengthy.
The vital wicket of Simon Doull was first to fall. Doull's top-order hitting has been decisive in two of ND's State Shield victories this season. Extra bounce accounted for him as he tamely edged an easy catch off Walmsley to Germon behind the stumps. Doull's five came at a mere run a ball, pedestrian for him.
Grant Robinson fell to a brilliant diving catch by Gaffeney at square leg as he attempted to hook James McMillan. Robinson has failed to translate his composure at the crease into runs in the State Shield. His three today gives him a total of 16 in three innings.
Matthew Hart lasted only two deliveries, playing around a low full toss from Walmsley for a duck. Having won defending an improbably low total against CD in New Plymouth two days ago, it seemed that ND were repeating the strategy.
At 13/3 in the fifth over the Marshall twins, James and Hamish, came together to put the ND innings back on course. They went about their task sensibly, collecting runs by pushing the ball around rather than going for big shots. The running between the wickets was sharp, as they made the most of their fraternal understanding.
The Otago opening attack was tight and disciplined, Kerry Walmsley finishing his spell with figures of 6-0-19-2, while James McMillan had 6-1-16-1.
Walmsley in particular made good use of the bouncy nature of the pitch, also achieving movement away from the right handers.
Slow pitches have limited the impact of the revised regulation allowing one head-high bouncer an over in New Zealand. It as a factor today with the batsmen tentative about getting on the front foot and therefore vulnerable to lateral movement.
However, runs are there for the taking with the Westpac Trust Park pitch rewarding good batting and bowling.
The visitors need a win to maintain their challenge for qualification to the knock-out stage of the competition. They are fourth, three points behind Canterbury. The top three go through.
A victory for ND would ensure their progress to the next stage as well as keeping them well placed in the two-horse race with Wellington to win the automatic right to host the final.
ND have won the toss and will bat. They are unchanged.
For Otago, wicket-keeper Martyn Croy is injured, so skipper Lee Germon takes the gloves. David Sewell comes into the team. Play will begin on time despite earlier showers.
The ND batting is still a concern, with a team average of only 152 an innings in the last five matches. Coach Bruce Blair acknowledged that his batsmen failed to implement their gameplan in the low-scoring win at New Plymouth on Friday.
Untrustworthy surfaces have been a partially valid excuse, but that will not be so today. The Hamilton surface should be as reliable as ever, with a winning score likely to be well over 200.
ND won the earlier meeting between these two teams, skittling Otago out for 155 to take a bonus point in a 74-run victory in Alexandra.
James Marshall, Simon Doull, Matthew Hart, Grant Robinson, Hamish Marshall, Grant Bradburn, Jaden Hatwell, Robbie Hart (captain/wicket-keeper), Joseph Yovich, Daryl Tuffey, Graeme Aldridge. Ian Butler is twelfth man.
Andrew Hore, Robbie Lawson, Craig Cumming, Chris Gaffeney, Craig Pryor, Lee Germon (captain/wicket-keeper), Nathan Morland, Nathan McCullum, Kerry Walmsley, James McMillan, David Sewell. Bay of Plenty left-arm fast bowler Leighton Hammond is on loan to Otago as twelfth man.
Date-stamped : 20 Jan2002 - 14:41