Skippers heroics gives the Stags a chance
The Central Stags hopes of securing a much needed victory were boosted thanks to Jamie How who smashed 77 to help his side reach 165-5 against the Victorian Bushrangers at Centurion.
The skipper top scored for the Stags; smashing 10 fours and 3 sixes in a 55 ball innings which helped the Stags recover after a poor start which saw them lose two early wickets.
Having won the toss the Stags decided to bat first but Jamie How would have regretted his decision after Peter Siddle tore through the top order picking up two wickets in the first over to leave the bewildered Stags 2-3.
Siddle, who had missed the Bushrangers opening game struck with the second delivery of the game to remove Peter Ingram (0) who clipped a length ball into the hands of John Hastings at square-leg.
Having scored two runs off the next delivery Tim Weston (2) quickly followed after he edged another length delivery from Siddle into the hands of Andrew McDonald at second slip.
Having seen his side lose two early wickets How responded by dispatching Siddle for a six over long-on to kick start the Stags innings. Despite this the Stags found scoring hard on a wicket witch suited the Bushrangers bowlers.
Matthew Sinclair, who came to the crease after the wicket of Weston fell found the conditions tough. The 34 year old faced 21 deliveries, scoring just 14 runs before his innings was ended by Hastings.
The loss of Sinclair left the Stags 30-3 after 5.3 overs but the arrival of George Worker gave the Kiwis fresh hope of turning the game around as he forged a 4th wicket partnership of 53 with How which gave the batting team a foundation to push on.
With the pairís partnership well established Worker tried to slog Bryce McGain over mid-wicket but his shot fell short of the boundary to allow Ryan Carters to take an easy catch.
Despite the loss of Worker, How continued his fine innings bringing up a well deserved half century in the 15th over but despite his presence at the crease the Stags were still struggerling with the score 108-4.
With only four overs to go the Stags needed a big over to give their bowlers a total they would be able to defend and the skipper once again delivered in the 18th over.
Having already conceded a six off his first delivery, Hastings was punished by How after he got on strike smashing 5 boundaries in succession including off a no ball which lifted the Stags to 143-4.
Having watched his skipper launch a counter attack in the previous over Brendon Diamanti (19) dispatched Clint McKay for a six at the start of the next over but his cameo innings was ended after he sliced McKayís next delivery into the hands of Siddle at third man.
The Stags didnít let the loss of Diamanti ruin their comeback with Kieran Noema-Barnett picking up the gauntlet to smash 13 runs from just 7 deliveries including a six off the final balll of the game bowled by Dirk Nannes.