Manawatu¯ side secure last ball victory
After more than 200 overs and 850 runs, it all came down to the last ball.
Late afternoon had morphed into evening, but the heat was relentless. And so was the pressure.
Manawatu¯’s star pace bowler Nav Patel was on strike, needing two runs for his team to pull off an unlikely first-innings win over a strong Hawke’s Bay side.
Unlikely because Hawke’s Bay, making the most of a flat pitch at Napier’s Nelson Park, piled on 427/8 as Manawatu¯ were made to toil on day one of the two-day fixture on Saturday.
But after a superb batting effort, a first-innings win was in the visitors’ grasp as the shadows lengthened on Sunday.
Patel managed to push the ball past the bowler and he and Scott Davidson scampered the two runs required.
Davidson was not out on 114, his second ton for Manawatu¯.
He said Patel ‘‘clanged it’’ and the pair charged up and down for the win.
Davidson was pleased with his fluency in what was always a battle against the clock and the required run rate.
‘‘It was, obviously, a really good pitch. They’ve got a good bowling attack – some really good spin bowlers.’’
After a solid start from Manawatu¯’s top order, Davidson and fellow middle-order batsman Trent McGrath combined for a 100-run stand.
The asking rate was four an over, but with Hawke’s Bay setting attacking fields in an ultimately forlorn effort to get enough points to secure a Hawke Cup challenge, the runs kept coming.
By the end though, the squeeze was on, the field was in tight and the batsmen had to work hard.
Davidson rated the knock one of his better innings and said he’d never been involved in such a chase.
Neither had Manawatu¯ coach Mike Mason, who admitted feeling nervous as he watched on.
‘‘It’s a massive effort... We only needed four or five runs an over and we had five wickets in hand. Then, somehow, it got down to the last over.’’
It wasn’t enough for Manawatu¯ to top the Furlong Cup table and earn a shot at the Hawke Cup – an outright win was required for that. In the end, they finished third.
But, they robbed Hawke’s Bay of a chance as Taranaki, who beat Horowhenua-Ka¯piti outright at the weekend, topped the table.
Mason said he’d received a few thank-you texts from Taranaki.
He praised his side’s performance this weekend and for their previous game, which resulted in an emphatic first-innings win over Taranaki.
However, Mason said the bowling performances early in the season weren’t always consistent enough.
427/8 dec (Christian Leopard 98, Tim Richards 3-55) lost to 428/7 (Mitch Renwick 77, David Meiring 63, McGrath 64, Davidson 114 not out) on the first innings.
Hawke’s Bay Manawatu¯
Scott Davidson, pictured here batting for Taranaki against Manawatu¯ in 2015, scored a stunning century.