This was the round of the season’s Plunket Shield when everything was expected to change; the international players were back, and sides like Northern Districts were expected to flex their muscles. Far from it.
Surprise runaway leaders Wellington had another victory, this time within two days. You’ve got to be quick to see this side, although they made it tougher than they should have on what would appear to have been a spritely Basin pitch. Test cricket is played there in under a fortnight.
Central Districts kept the pressure on with a n extraordinary win in Dunedin. The hosts knocked up 513/7dec in their first dig, and you would think that should guarantee a draw in a four day match. But Central never gave up, and a superb bowling performance in the second innings followed by a calm chase meant they got there by two wickets with a couple of overs to spare.
These two top teams meet in Nelson next week in what is increasingly looking like the crucial match of the competition.
Meanwhile star-studded Northern Districts (bottom) got turned over by star-studded resurgent Auckland.
The highest individual score across the matches in Wellington and Hamilton was 62 (Guptill-Bunce) so there isn’t much to report on from those games.
The match in Dunedin was set up with centuries to Hamish Rutherford (142, 11th first class century) and Derek de Boorder (140*, 4th first class century). Then the successful CD chase was based on 90 from Ross Taylor and 83 from Will Young.
Some #BirdsOnFire #PlunketShield #statchat: before this season, the last 10-wicket bag for Wellington was Mark Gillespie in 2013. Logan van Beek and Hamish Bennett have now gone back-to-back in picking them up.
— Wellington Firebirds (@wgtnfirebirds) November 16, 2017
Hamish Bennett (5/14 and 5/34) now has 27 wickets @ 9.4, 2.46 RPO this season.
In the same match Henry Shipley took a career best 5/37 (previous best 2-36).
Matt McEwan is a player who has bucked the traditional geographical drift of a Plunket Shield player looking to better his chances for an international call-up. Canterbury > Wellington > Auckland and now his best first class figures with 6/48.
Other notable performances in that match were a maiden 5WI from Auckland’s 21 year old left armer Ben Lister (5/29) and Scott Kuggeleijn’s 5/36.
The worm turned in the match in Dunedin when Adam Milne (5/64) and Ajaz Patel (5/68) achieved the very rare feat of two players claiming five-wicket bags in the same innings.
Jacob Duffy then took 5/59 on the final day.
These Plunket Shield wraps rely almost exclusively done by reading scoreboards and NZC Press Releases. Given the tournament has no radio commentary anymore someone has to do it. If you happen to go to any of the matches and have some observations to make please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback. Cheers