The Northern Knights made some minor tweaks which produced major rewards in their HRV Cup Twenty20 match against fellow strugglers the Wellington Firebirds in Wellington today.
The Knights won the match by 34 runs at the Basin Reserve after shuffling both their batting and bowling cards.
The contest between the fifth and sixth placed teams went the visitors’ way after skipper Scott Styris backed a hunch and promoted Kane Williamson to open once he won the toss and chose to bat first.
The decision was more than vindicated as Williamson struck 53 off 41 balls to steer the Knights to 162 for seven, a modest enough total which they defended well by dismissing the competition cellar dwellers to 128 in 19 overs.
Again, Styris opted to try something different with the ball as the Knights fronted first up with offspinner Williamson and the captain himself with his medium pacers.
And it was Styris and young quick Trent Boult who did the early damage as the Firebirds slid to 35 for four, Styris removing both openers Rory Hamilton-Brown and Michael Pollard and Boult taking care of Brendan Taylor and Craig Cachopa, all at cheap cost.
James Franklin threatened to turn the tide for the hosts but once he was dismissed for 48 off 37 balls the Firebirds were 99 for six after 15 overs and staring at their fifth loss through eight rounds of the competition.
That reality did not take long in arriving either as Williamson returned to the bowling crease in the latter stages to snap up three for 33 off his four overs.
Styris ended with two for 24 off two and Boult two for 16 off two.
Earlier, Williamson made a fine fist of being promoted to face the new ball as he topscored for the Knights, who also benefited from Peter McGlashan’s 29 off 14 balls and Styris’ 23 off 19.
Left-arm swing bowler Andy McKay was impeccable, taking two for 16 off his four overs while spinner Luke Woodcock also impressed in taking two for 26 off four.