The SKYCITY Northern Knights picked up their first Georgie Pie Super Smash win of 2015 with a complete performance at Seddon Park.
A big-hitting batting display, led by Anton Devcich and Kevin O’Brien, saw the Knights post an excellent 184/4, before brilliant bowling dismissed the Mighty Ape Wellington Firebirds for 72, claiming the 112-run win as defending champs the Firebirds were shocked to the lowest total in the history of Georgie Pie Super Smash.
The powerful performance fell just five runs short of the national record for the biggest run margin in the history of the competition, held by the SBS Bank Otago Volts (117, also claimed at the Firebirds' expense in the 2008/09 season).
The Knights’ innings was a strong one, a solid opening platform making way for middle-order hitters to post an intimidating target.
After a half-hour rain delay before the game got underway, the Knights batsmen took advantage of the quick outfield and mixed in an impressive display of power hitting to keep the run rate healthy throughout the innings.
Captain Daniel Flynn got his side off to a flier with two quick sixes, and his dismissal for 19 from 10 balls only set Devcich and Dean Brownlie into action, quickly picking up where Flynn left off.
The bearded duo put on 57 for the second wicket, Brownlie making 22 from 19 balls before departing to the bowling of the impressive Jeetan Patel.
A slight dry spell had the game interestingly poised with the hosts at 108/2 from 13 overs; but imported Irishman O’Brien expertly increased the tempo, after recovering from copping an awkward blow on the throat.
Two sixes off the otherwise economical Anurag Verma kick-started his knock, before Luke Woodcock also got the treatment as the Knights rocketed through to 162/2, looking set for a chance at reaching 200.
However, the batting pair was dismissed in quick succession, both caught at short fine leg. Devcich’s 66 from 57 balls ended with an easy catch for Brent Arnel, while it required a stunning grab from Verma to claim O’Brien’s wicket for 42 from 21 balls.
The Firebirds had looked like they had restricted the worst of the hitting, but a no ball in the last over led to Daryl Mitchell smashing a straight four, before capping off the innings with a sublime scoop shot for six to take the Knights past 180.
With a big chase on the cards, the contest was effectively over within the first four overs after fantastic opening spells from Devcich and Scott Kuggeleijn.
Devcich took the first two wickets, having the Firebirds at 10/2 after getting T20 debutant Alecz Day (brought in to open for an injured Michael Pollard) caught behind and Michael Papps stumped.
His opening bowling partner then took control. Kuggeleijn’s pace causing havoc. Craig Cachopa was caught behind and, the following ball, Tom Blundell (above) received a swinging peach of a delivery, clean bowled for a golden duck to reduce the visitors to 13/4.
Matt Taylor fended off the hat-trick ball and provided the only resistance for Wellington, making 28 and sending a Ben Laughlin over for 22.
Once he went, so did the tail, the spin of Jono Boult and Ish Sodhi taking five wickets between them and dismissing the Firebirds for 72.
The Knights' next host the Canterbury Kings in the first game to be played at Whangarei's Cobham Oval, while the Firebirds will look to bounce back against the SBS Bank Otago Volts – both games on a bumper Sunday afternoon of Georgie Pie Super Smash action.
Get your Georgie Pie Super Smash tickets online and go in the draw to win a Ford Fiesta Trend Manual*