Hobart Hurricanes turned in a strong all-round display to knock down the Northern Knights by 86 runs in Raipur last night.
Captain and wicketkeeper Tim Paine (43 off 34 balls) provided the initial flourish before Aidan Blizzard (62 off 43 balls) and Shoaib Malik (45 not out off 22 balls) ramped up the scoring rate, raising 100 runs in 8.2 overs for the third wicket. Blizzard hit eight fours while Malik smashed five fours and two sixes as Hobart finished strongly with 178-3 in 20 overs.
Ben Hilfenhaus then wrecked the Knights’ chase with a fantastic spell of swing bowling by claiming three wickets for 14 runs, his best bowling display in Twenty20.
Openers Anton Devcich (2) and Kane Williamson (3), who had been the key to Knights’ winning run in the tournament, fell cheaply and the rest failed to measure up to the challenge.
They were bowled out for a paltry 92 in 16.4 overs, the lowest total in this edition of the tournament, with another medium pacer, Doug Bollinger, claiming three wickets.
It was the first defeat for the Knights who had won all their four matches at Raipur and they slipped to third place in Group A standings. The big win catapulted Hobart to the top of the group and considerably improved their chances of a semi-final spot.
Hilfenhaus credited the batsmen for providing the platform for the bowlers to go all out.
“I think it was very well set up by Blizzard and Malik,” he said. “It was a fantastic effort and gave us bowlers a pretty good chance. It’s quite funny, I thought it came out better the other day (against Kings XI Punjab last week) but I was hit everywhere. There was a bit of movement and assistance here. It was good to get the overs out of the way and not get tapped around at the end.”
Paine was delighted at the way his bowling unit performed last night. “Can’t fault that bowling effort, as good as we’ve bowled for some time,” he said.
“I thought if we could take early wickets against them, some of their guys haven’t batted much in the qualifiers or their first game, so we thought we might get them under pressure,” he added.
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