Day three: SKYCITY Northern Knights 287 and 99 (Flynn 32, Mitchell 26) beat Devon Hotels Central Stags 89 and 296 (van Wyk 95, Wheeler 81) by seven wickets.
The SKYCITY Northern Knights turned up needing two wickets for the win, but fighting resistance from Devon Hotels Kruger van Wyk and Ben Wheeler meant the home side had to bat again, chasing down their target of 99 runs this evening to avoid coming back for day four.
While most fans may have expected a short, drama-free end to the match, the Central Stags lower order had other ideas. van Wyk and Wheeler combined for a 102 run partnership for the ninth wicket that denied the strong Northern bowling attack an early shower, not only ensuring the home side would have to bat again, but would be required to chase a target late in the day.
The home attack were forced to combat an extremely determined rear guard resistance - Scott Kuggeleijn and Daryl Mitchell wound up with three wickets each, Tim Southee got two, Dan Vettori got through 24 overs but went wicketless, while Ish Sodhi and Trent Boult took one each.
Chasing 99 for the win with 45 overs remaining in the day, the Knights only needed 25 odd overs to knock the runs off for three wickets, with Daryl Mitchell and BJ Watling there at the end.
In a match stacked with BLACKCAPS, there were some encouraging signs for the Test match next week, particularly among the pace bowling attack.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee combined for nine wickets in the Central Stags first innings, as the Northern Knights closed to within two wickets of victory in their Plunket Shield match in Hamilton.
At the end of day two, the Stags look to be staring down the barrel of defeat and remain 29 runs behind the Knights at 168 for eight in their second innings.
Having posted 287 in the first-innings, the Knights had the visitors four for two in their first innings at the start of the day. They proceeded to press home their advantage with 16 further wickets .
The BLACKCAPS fast-bowling duo of Boult and Southee tore through the rest of the Stags batting line-up, reducing them to 47 for seven. A late 28 from Kruger van Wyk pushed them up to 89 all out, but they were still unable to avoid the follow-on.
Boult picked up a five wicket-bag in his 15.3 overs for 30 runs, while Southee had figures of four for 39 from 16 overs. Dan Vettori picked up the other wicket in his very economical eight overs for five runs.
The Stags got off to better a start in their second innings, with openers Jamie How and Ben Smith putting on 46 for the first wicket. Unfortunately though the resistance didn’t last, with the host’s bowlers once again getting the better of the Stags batsmen.
All of the Knights bowlers got in on the act this time, but it was Boult who took the prized scalp of Ross Taylor for six.
Kruger van Wyk once again made sure the Knights didn’t get it all their own way, making an unbeaten 54 before the close of play. Unfortunately though he is quickly running out of partners.