The Northern Knights have closed out a comfortable victory over the Otago Volts in an entertaining opening match to the HRV Cup at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
The Knights defended their total of 174 for four, by holding the Volts to 150 and ensuring a 24 run win.
The Volts were unable to find the boundary often enough at the start of their pursuit and failed to make up the lost ground.
The southerners got off to a bad start when an in-form Aaron Redmond was caught behind off Anton Devcich in the first over.
They lost debutant Michael Bracewell cheaply as well, before Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom got the Volts back on track.
The partnership was worth 62, but didn’t come at the clip required. Needing 91 off the last seven overs, Broom was caught on 33 the next ball and things went from bad to worse.
Rutherford went in the next over for 47 and the match was effectively over. Jimmy Neesham had one final dig with 33 off 19, but couldn’t sustain the momentum and was forced to see his side finish 150 for six.
Despite only bowling two overs, Devcich was the Knights chief wicket-taker with figures of two for 13 from two overs.
Earlier the Knights had recovered from a shaky start, largely thanks to number four Steven Croft.
The English import revived his side from four for 42, to 168 for six when he departed for 81 in the final over.
Recent Under-19 World Cup bowler Jacob Duffy had taken the key wickets of Daniel Flynn (1) and Scott Styris (0) and put the Knights in a vulnerable position.
However Croft was in great touch and consistently sent the ball to all parts of the ground. He smashed 16 off the first three balls of Broom’s spell in the 16th over and looked possible to push on to his ton.
Duffy stemmed the run-flow somewhat in the final overs, but croft had done the damage. His 39 ball innings included six fours and four sixes and put his side in what would turn out to be an unassailable position.
Duffy finished with figures of two for 32 from four overs.
The next HRV Cup fixture will be between the Wellington Firebirds and Canterbury Wizards next Friday.