Mathew Sinclair answered the call but it was not enough as the Northern Knights beat the Central Stags by 23 runs in a HRV Cup Twenty20 match at Napier today.
Sinclair fronted with the 10th Twenty20 half-century of his career only to see the Stags held to 143 for six chasing a target of 167 at McLean Park.
The 36-year-old first drop showed his enduring worth by making 63 off 49 balls before he was dismissed in the last over with the Stags well short of their target.
The only meaningful support for Sinclair came from Doug Bracewell, who muscled 37 off 22 balls, including three sixes, before he was bowled by international Tim Southee in the penultimate over to end a fifth wicket partnership worth 68 runs.
Sinclair’s stay, punctuated by six fours against a disciplined Knights attack, ended off the first ball of the final over when he was bowled by left-arm seamer Trent Boult.
The Knights bowlers operated well as a unit, the standouts being offspinner Kane Williamson, who used the new ball intelligently to take two for 19 off four overs, and left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who picked up one wicket at the cost of 23 off four.
The Knights’ total of 166 for nine featured a series of middling contributions without anything of substance.
After being inserted, the visitors made a bright enough start to be 51 for one in the sixth over before Brad Wilson departed for a sparkling 35, scoring off 21 balls and containing five fours and a lone six.
His remained the leading contribution as BJ Watling chimed in with 26 off 24, skipper Scott Styris made 21 off 15 then Peter McGlashan scored 22 off 18.
The Stags stuck to their task well and helped the cause by making three dismissals in the final over, two of them via run outs.
The best of their bowlers were young quick Adam Milne, who collected two for 27 off his four overs, and legspinner Tarun Nethula, who ended with two for 28 off the same number.