Central Stags pulled off the most unlikeliest of wins in a bizarre HRV Cup match today to keep alive hopes of defending their title.
With their match against Canterbury Wizards at Christchurch reduced to a 10-over affair because of rain, Central were in a dire situation at 11 for five early in their innings but they recovered to post 73 for eight, courtesy of 24 from Mike Yardy and Doug Bracewell's 22, on a green wicket at the QEII Park Village Green.
It should not have been enough especially after Canterbury had cruised to 34 without loss in the fourth over, but the hosts self destructed in the last six overs and somehow fell three runs short, ending the innings on 70 for nine.
Central Districts captain Jamie How produced a masterstroke, leaving regular opening bowler Michael Mason to bowl the eighth and 10th overs, and he produced the goods with three for 12 from his two overs as Canterbury lost six wickets for 14 runs in the 15 balls of the match.
Bracewell completed a good outing with two for nine from his two overs while Canterbury's opening bowlers Johan van der Wath (three for five) and Richard Sherlock (three for 12) did all the damage early in the match.
The other two matches scheduled for today, between Auckland and Wellington at Auckland and Northern Districts and Otago at Mt Maunganui, were both abandoned without a ball being bowled because of rain.
Auckland lead the competition with 20 points from second placed Northern (18). Central and Canterbury are tied for third on 12 points.