7 wickets in 11 overs conceding just 41 runs altogether from Ben Hilfenhaus, Joe Mennie and Xavier Doherty broke the back of Northern Knights batting, after they began chasing a target of 179 at Raipur set by Hobart Hurricanes. With Doug Bollinger polishing the tail towards the end with three wickets in four balls, Hurricanes recorded an emphatic 86-run victory over the New Zealand outfit. The Australians exhibited a perfect example of a clinically calculated batting and bowling performance to keep their chances alive for the Tournament’s knock-out phase.
Northern Knights had gone on record to win all their games played at Raipur and when Daniel Flynn won the toss for them, he didn’t hesitate in asking Hobart Hurricanes to bat first. For the first 6 overs, it looked as if Flynn’s decision has paid off since the batting powerplay yielded only 29 runs, 9 of which came off the 6th over and Hurricanes had lost Ben Dunk. But then the Hurricanes picked up pace with Tim Paine and Aiden Blizzard adding 36 in the next 4 overs to take the score to 65/1 at the end of 10 overs. In the 11th over, hurricanes lost Paine, who holed out to Ish Sodhi at long-off but Paine had already given a solid start to his side by notching up 43 off 34 balls with 6 fours and a six. This was as far as the Knights remained in the game. Because, from here onwards, Shoib Malik and Last game’s hero Blizzard went after the Northern Knights bowling in a truly dominant way. The two batsmen added 100 runs for the third wicket in just 49 balls. Though Blizzard fell in the 20th over, Hurricanes had already reached a position of strength by then. The Australian came up with another good knock, scoring 62 off 43 balls with 8 hits to the fence. Malik remained not out on 45 off 22 balls, hitting 5 fours and 2 sixes as Hurricanes finished with 178/3. Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who had proved to be the best new ball bowlers thus far, failed against the late Hurricane onslaught. Even so, the target of 179 runs was not considered difficult for the Northern Knights, who understood the Raipur ground pretty well.
When the Northern Knights’ chase got underway, disaster struck them straightaway. They lost Anton Devcich in the second over and Kane Williamson in the third. That was not all Daniel Flynn followed Williamson off the next ball to make it 5/3 at the end of the third over. Ben Hilfenhaus was in full cry as he grabbed these two wickets with complete authority. While Williamson fell to a short ball that didn’t take the full height, Flynn was a victim of his own making, as he couldn’t counter an in-swinging delivery that crashed on his stumps. In the seventh over, Hilfenhaus claimed BJ Watling from a full toss that could have been played anywhere by the batsman. But Watling played too soon across the line of the straighter ball that hit his back thigh. He was adjudged out Leg Before Wicket. 19/4 at the end of 7 overs was not taking the 179-run chase anywhere. Scot Styris and Daryl Mitchell tried to steady the boat somehow but the fall of Mitchell in the 12th over, took the fight out of Northern Knights. To add to the batting woes of the Knights, they lost their sixth wicket, when Xavier Doherty bowled Scot Kuggeleijn. Styris was a lone ranger in the Knights’ batting, which had already crumbled. But Styris didn’t have any support from the other end and finally he too succumbed to the accurate Hurricanes’ bowling. Joe Mennie accounted for Styris in the 16th over. Mennie had sent down a full toss way out on the offside and losing his cool, Styris weakly played it into the hands of the extra cover. The Knights had reached 92/7 after 16 overs and the remaining three wickets fell to the next four balls of 17th over from Doug Bollinger, who finished with the figures of 3/22 in 2.4 overs.
For Hobart Hurricanes, the bowlers did the trick with Hilfenhaus reaching his personal best figures of 3/14 in a T20 game. The remaining wickets were shared by Mennie, Xavier Doherty and Doug Bollinger. Of the 92 runs that Northern Knights scored, Styris contributed 37 off 27 balls. Tim Southee was another batsman whose 21 was the only other double digit score. Two batsmen scored 9, after which the best score was 3. Three batsmen went for ducks.
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