Ranji Trophy 2022: Minister Manoj Tiwary included in Bengal's squad
4 Jan 2022
The Ford Trophy returned this week with two matches on weekdays. Northern Districts and Auckland Aces were the sides that participated in both the matches to now end up at the bottom of the points table with just one win and three losses to its kitty with two matches getting washed out. Prior to this week, the Northern Districts team, also known as Braves also participated in a match that involved Central Districts also known as Stags in it.
In their fourth match of the season on January 06, the Braves were up against Stags at their home ground in Pukekura Park. After winning the toss and electing to field first, the Stags bowlers were all over the Braves and rolled them over for a meagre 143.
Northern skipper Joe Carter (38) and Brent Hampton (21*) were the only two batters to put any resistance to the enormous pressure built by Seth Rance, Blair Tickner and spinner Ajaz Patel. Rance was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets to his name.
Defending the target, pacer Anurag Verma removed Stags opener, Bayley Wiggins for a golden duck with the team score at one. But Maara Ave and Ben Smith took control and put up an assuring stand of 53 runs for the second wicket.
Post that, three wickets fell quickly to give the Braves an outside chance of coming back in the game with Stags at 84-4. But Brad Schmulian and Josh Clarkson made sure that it did not happen, building an unbeaten partnership of 61 runs to take their team home. For Braves, Verma picked two wickets.
Returning from the humbling by Stags, the Joe Carter led side was up against a heavyweight Auckland Aces at their home ground of Eden Park Outer Oval. The Northern Braves won the toss and decided to field first.
Anurag Verma, who has been in great bowling form this season, continued it and made skipper Carter proud of his decision by picking up Auckland opener Cole Briggs in the third over of the day. Other bowlers and fielders backed it up as well as George Worker, the other opener was run out by Mitchell Santner to make it 27-2 for Auckland.
Post that, wickets kept falling at regular intervals as no Aces batter was able to get past the 50 run mark and the entire team bundled out for 221 in the 50th over. Verma picked up three wickets while Ish Sodhi and Santner got two each.
Looking at the batting form of Braves, it didn’t seem an easy chase, especially after the way they were bundled out for 143 in their last game. However, this time around, skipper Carter decided that he was going to make the most of it and sored what was only the second century of his 41 matches long List-A career.
Carter had a record-breaking 177 run stand for the second wicket with opener Jeet Raval who missed out on a century by just three runs after being removed by William Somerville for 97. Tim Siefert was the other Northern batter to get out that day as they chased down the total in only the 39th over. This was Brave’s first and only victory of the Championship till now.
In the last game of the week, the two sides were up against each other once again at the same venue with Auckland being boosted by the return of their premier bowler Lockie Ferguson who missed the last game.
Ferguson showed exactly why he is one of the best fast bowlers in the world in the 50-Over format as he removed five top-order Braves’ batters including last game heroes Raval and skipper Carter in a span of just 22 balls. Chasing the target of 304, Braves were reeling at 37-4 courtesy of that brilliant spell from Ferguson.
Coilin de Grandhomme, struggling hard to get back into the reckoning of the selectors played a blinder of an innings, scoring only his third List-A century in a 153 matches long career. He struck a threatening 145 run stand with Santner as the duo took Braves from 37-4 to 182 in just 98 balls.
But Just when it seemed that they would take the game away from the Aces, Sean Solia broke through and removed Santner. In the very next over, Brett Hampton followed through. de Grandhomme tried his best as he struck yet another partnership of 43 runs with Scott Kuggeleijn.
The all-rounder reached his hundred but was running out of partners as Kuggeleijn departed as well. With partners and time running out, de Grandhomme tried taking on Ferguson and was removed in the process, giving the fast bowler his sixth scalp.
In the 39th over, when de Grandhomme got out for 126 off just 104 balls, Braves needed only 48 runs from 72 balls. So it was just a matter of staying at the crease and playing through. But that did not happen. Just after de Grandhomme, the remaining two batters in Ish Sodhi and Zak Gibson got out in the very next over, ending the Braves inning at 256.
Earlier in the day, riding on a century from opener Worker (132) and 90 ball 95 from captain O’Donnell, the Aces side reached 303-7 in their 50 overs.
At the end of 12 matches, Wellington are at the top of the table with 12 points from four games while Otago occupy the second spot with eight points from four games. The Championship now takes a break and will return on February 01 after the end of the Super Smash.