The Hobart Hurricanes laid their claim for a place in the semi-final of the Oppo CLT20 2014 after they defeated the Northern Knights by a humongous margin of 86 runs at the Chhattisgarh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur. After posting 178 runs on the board, the Hurricanes bowlers came out all guns firing and skittled out their Kiwi opponents for 92, in the process enhancing their net run rate sufficiently to give them a place at the top of the standings. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M9 - HOBART HURRICANES V NORTHERN KNIGHTS)
After being put in to bat, the Hobart Hurricanes recovered from a slow start to post a commanding total of 178, thanks in main to superbly paced innings from Aiden Blizzard and Shoaib Malik. Some disciplined bowling from the Northern Knights bowlers saw the Hurricanes crawl to 29 for 1 before the field restrictions were eased; the usually aggressive Ben Dunk was the only casualty in that period of play.
Hurricanes skipper Tim Paine was the first to show signs of intent; he identified Scott Kuggeleijn as the bowler to milk and scored five boundaries off him. He was dismissed in the 11th over when he attempted to hit leg-spinner Ish Sodhi out of the park but found the safe hands of Trent Boult at long-off; he made 43 and hit six fours and a six in his 34-ball outing. The partnership between him and Aiden Blizzard – that lasted 5.2 overs - was worth 47 runs.
Runs continued to trickle in ones and twos, apart from the occasional boundary or six, and the Hurricanes reached the 100-run mark in the 15th over. That’s when both Blizzard and Malik cut loose. Malik was the first to step on the accelerator; he hit Scott Styris for two boundaries and a six as the 16th over produced 19 runs. The left-handed Blizzard, who was dropped when he had just two runs against his name, joined in next, picking 13 off the 17th over bowled by Trent Boult. The onslaught on Boult, who had a poor day in the office, continued into the 19th over as the Blizzard hit four boundaries and Malik picked up one in an over that yielded 21 runs – the most productive over of the innings.
Blizzard perished at the start of the final over when an attempted slash landed in the hands of the short thirdman fielder. After consuming 28 balls for his first 27 runs, the left-hander scored the next 35 runs in 15 balls to finish with 62 from 43 balls. The 32-year old Malik too paced his innings beautifully; from 19 off 13 balls, he added 26 from the nine deliveries to eventually finish unbeaten on 45 from 22 balls. The third wicket pair added exactly 100 over a period of 8.2 overs and were chiefly responsible in helping their team finish at 178 for 3.
After keeping the pressure on the Hurricanes batsmen for 15 overs, the wheels came off the Northern Knights bowling attack when they conceded 76 runs in the last five overs. The surprising presence of heavy dew in the outfield (for the first time this season) – enough to warrant mopping of the outfield at regular intervals during the game – did not help the cause of the bowlers. Tim Southee (1-29) and Scott Styris (0-28) were the two Knights bowlers to get away with respectable figures.
The Knights run-chase began on a disastrous note as Ben Laughlin pulled off a sensational catch to dismiss in-form opener Anton Devcich in the second over. The experienced Ben Hilfenhaus dismissed Kane Williamson and Daniel Flynn in the third over to leave the Knights’ chase in disarray.
But for a defiant innings from Scott Styris (37 from 27 balls) and some bit-hitting towards the end by Southee (21), the Knights never really posed a threat in their run-chase. The team from New Zealand were bowled out for 92 in 16.4 overs.
On a two-paced surface, the Hurricanes bowlers used their variations smartly to mount further pressure on the Knights batsmen. If Hilfenhaus decimated the top order, Bollinger polished off the tail. Joe Mennie and Xavier Doherty, who bowled a maiden over each, picked up two wickets apiece.
Hobart Hurricanes win by 86 runs
Brief Scores: Hobart Hurricanes 178-3 in 20.0 Overs (Tim Paine 43, Aiden Blizzard 62, Shoaib Malik 45, Tim Southee 1-29) defeated Northern Knights 92 in 16.4 Overs (Scott Styris 37, Ben Hilfenhaus 3-14, Joe Mennie 2-10, Xavier Doherty 2-17, Doug Bollinger 3-22)
Man of the Match: Ben Hilfenahaus, for his bowling figures of 4-0-14-3.
Paine: "We can't fault our bowling effort and also our fielding. I didn't feel we were safe and just wanted to get them under pressure straight away."
Flynn: "It was disappointing today. We did not react well and we thought we could have restricted them to a lower total. It didn't come off for us tonight but they played really well."