The Northern Knights have beaten the Central Stags by six wickets in their HRV Cup match at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
The Stags were held to 149 for six in their twenty overs, despite a lively 64 from Carl Cachopa. Knights’ import Steven Croft once again showed his value with an unbeaten 59 to play out the win with five balls to spare.
Their pursuit though started shakily, with three quick wickets reducing the Knights to 20 for three after 3.4 overs.
A timely fourth wicket partnership of 80 between Scott Styris (46) and Croft brought the Knights back to be 100 for three in the 14th over, until the former fell lbw to Ben Wheeler.
Alongside fellow Englishman James Foster, Croft saw out the match and in doing so made it back to back half-centuries in the HRV Cup. Foster also played his part with a quick-fire 26 from 12.
Earlier, the Stags had won the toss and opted to bat, but struggled from the outset.
A sustained period of dot balls and singles built pressure on the top-order, which the Knights then took advantage of with four quick wickets.
Steven Croft took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to dismiss Jamie How (21), while some sharp keeping from Foster saw the end of Matthew Sinclair (13).
Halfway through their innings the Stags were four for 49 and in need of a substantial partnership.
Following a 30 run fifth wicket stand with Cachopa, captain Kieran Noema-Barnett was then caught on 15 to bring debutant Will Young to the crease. The 20 year-old made his way to five before being run out in the 17th over.
Cachopa though was beginning to look comfortable and picking up boundaries at ease. Three sixes in seven balls lifted him to his half-century in the 18th over, with the milestone coming off 28 balls.
He continued to work in fours and sixes and after twenty overs had inspired his side to a total of 149 for six.
Croft picked up two wickets in his two overs for 12 runs, while Anton Devcich was economical with his four overs going for just 15 runs, as well as dismissing Noema-Barnett.
The next HRV Cup match is next Friday night when the Knights host the Canterbury Wizards.