Kane Williamson’s maiden Twenty20 century – the fastest in the Champions League T20 - was the highlight of the Northern Knights’ resounding victory over Cape Cobras at the Chhattisgarh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur. After posting 206 for 5 – the first 200-plus total of the Oppo CLT20 2014, and before showers brought an abrupt end to the run-chase, the Knights had reduced their opponents to 44 for 2, enough to give them a 33-run win, arrived at by using the Duckworth/Lewis method of calculating targets for interrupted matches. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M3 – CAPE COBRAS V NORTHERN KNIGHTS)
Williamson, who should have been run out even before he had faced a delivery, ensured he made the most of Lady Luck smiling at him. There were times when he wasn’t too convincing, with the ball beating the outside edge of his bat or finding the edge, but falling in vacant areas or teasing the fielders. When he tried to bludgeon, the timing went awry. But when he chose to caress the ball, place the ball and play to his strengths, the ball made contact with the middle of the bat more often. The 24-year old was also quick on his feet, rocking back to anything banged in short or jumping down the ground on a few occasions.
Williamson brought up his half-century off 25 balls and needed a further 23 balls to reach the three-figure mark. He got to his maiden century in style, depositing a Vernon Philander delivery over the cover boundary. Williamson carried his bat through, remaining unconquered at the end of 20 overs on a splendidly compiled 101.
While Williamson stole the limelight, there were two other contributors for the Northern Knights. Anton Devcich’s 67 – which in its own right was a very good innings, and his 140-run partnership with Williamson set the platform for the Knights. BJ Watling, who batted at number four, forced the pace in the middle overs scoring 32 from 20 balls.
There were 11 overs in which the Northern Knights scored 10 runs or more in an over; these 11 overs contributed 154 runs out of the Northern Knights’ total of 206 for 5.
For Cape Cobras, it was an evening they will want to forget in a hurry. Catches were dropped. Runs were given away through misfields. Run out opportunities were missed. Miscued shots fell just out of reach of fielder’s hands. Bowlers landed the perfect yorkers, but the edges found their way to the boundary. That, in brief, was the tale of the Cape Cobras bowling effort on the night. Several chances were created, but the majority of them were not converted. After several lapses, which caused a lot of damage, the Cape Cobras fielders eventually held their catches and converted run out opportunities. Of the seven bowlers used, Charl Langeveldt got away with respectable figures of 2 for 27 from his four overs, while Vernon Philander picked up two scalps.
When it was their turn to chase, Cape Cobras lost opener Stiaan van Zyl first ball, thanks to a peach of an outswinger from Trent Boult.
Hashim Amla struck three boundaries before he picked the fielder patrolling the midwicket boundary in the sixth over. The heavens opened up shortly thereafter, forcing the players into the dressing room. At the point when play was suspended – with Cape Cobras at 44 for 2 after 7.2 overs – the par score calculated using the Duckworth-Lewis method was 77.
Northern Knights win by 33 runs (D/L Method)
Brief Scores: Northern Knights 206-5 in 20.0 Overs (Anton Devcich 67, Kane Williamson 101*, BJ Watling 32, Charl Langeveldt 2-27, Vernon Philander 2-39) beat Cape Cobras 44-2 in 7.2 Overs (Hashim Amla 20, Trent Boult 1-8)
Man of the Match: Kane Williamson, for his unbeaten 101
Flynn: "We were lucky with the weather, but it was a fantastic innings from Kane. The openers did it in the last game as well and getting off to a good start in T20s is crucial. We have been calculative and fortunately things have gone our way."
Ontong: "Fantastic opening stand and fantastic innings from Kane Williamson, he put us on the back foot right from the start. We let ourselves down on the field and we will have to look at our intensity and come back strongly."