Three games of Super Smash cricket over the weekend and all sorts of ins/outs, making it a difficult exercise when trying to suss out which domestic battlers are enjoying a splash of whack whack cricket. With three games, one of which was rained off, the Super Smash is definitely still in plod mode and the plodding nature is kinda enhanced by the comings and goings of Blackcaps. Maybe we call it the Super Plod ... Plod Smash ... Smashing Plods?
The first fixture was Northern Districts Knights defeating Wellington Firebirds, in a game that confirmed that the Knights ain't going no where down the ladder. Injecting South African Kyle Abbott definitely helps and he's a like-for-lie replacement for Chris Jordan and there was immediate value as Abbott smacked 14* off 10 and then took 2w @ 4.75rpo in 4ov.
Neil Wagner was the only current Blackcap in that Knights team and so far, Wagner's been a wee bit trash with the ball in his two outings. Wagner conceded 13.50rpo in 2ov last week vs Canterbury Kings and then 11rpo in 3ov vs Wellington, currently chilling without a wicket either.
While it's fun to talk about the Knights' amazing quality in terms of Blackcaps depth, the departure of Anton Devcich brought in Nick Kelly to open and Kelly's first Plod Smash appearance of the summer came with 45 runs off 26 balls (173.07rpo). Talk all you want about Blackcaps, but the Knights are who they are because of the players who come into the group when their top end is elevated to Blackcaps duty. Although Devcich isn't a Blackcap, Kelly is another reminder of the Knights production line.
With that in mind, it's also notable that Daryl Mitchell hit the other nifty score of 49 off 41. Then came 2w @ 4.75rpo in 4ov and Mitchell was perhaps the most impressive Knight in this game vs Wellington. Currently sitting 3rd in run with 212r @ 35.33avg/126.94sr and a solid bowling record of 4w @ 18.50avg/7.52rpo, Mitchell continues to build his impressive Domestic Daily record and as the Blackcaps battlers come and go, it's guys like Mitchell who form the foundations.
Auckland Aces vs Otago Volts got scratched, only after Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips went nuts though. Colin Munro managed 9 off 6, before Guptill hit 62* off 37 and Phillips hit 43* off 23 to take Auckland up to 117/1 in 11ov before the game was called off.
Jacob Duffy was the only Otago to have nice figures from those 11ov with 1w @ 5.5rpo in 2ov and this aligns with Duffy's solid Plod Smash thus far; 8w @ 15.25avg/7.17rpo. For all you Domestic Daily freaks around Aotearoa, please know that this also aligns with an almighty Ford Trophy campaign from Duffy in which in took 25w @ 19.40avg/4.83rpo and was the closest bowler in Aotearoa to matching Hamish Bennett' bonkers numbers.
Martin Guptill in Plod Smash 2018/19:
2inns, 133r @ (no average because he's a not-out deity) /151.13sr.
Yes, ol' mate Guppy is doing exactly what we'd expect him to do when dipping into Domestic Daily lifestyles.
Noted T20 whacker Glenn Phillips isn't quite enjoying the Plod Smash as much as his knock vs Otago may suggest. Prior to this, he had scores of 0, 2 and 20. Phillips has now reached double-figures in his last 2inns though so maybe he's finding his runs.
The last game from the weekend was a big win for Central District Stags over Canterbury Kings. Restricted to 112/8 from their 20ov, Canterbury's reasonably strong bowling unit couldn't keep a lid on the Stags batting and the Stags chased their target down in 16.5ov.
Blair Tickner did the bulk of the damage with the ball, taking 3w @ 3.75rpo in 4ov while Seth Rance was standard Seth Rance with 2w @ 4.75rpo in 4ov. Tickner is backing up his breakout effort in the legit Super Smash last summer, now sitting in 3rd for wickets with 9w @ 16.33avg/8.16rpo and he took a minor victory over Canterbury's Kyle Jamieson (1st) as Jamieson took 2w @ 5rpo in 4ov.
Tickner vs Jamieson is an interesting battle given their respective sizes and also as young seamers who are a wee bit different to the standard kiwi medium-pacer. This is a funky new wave of kiwi seamers, with a dash of x-factor and we've also recently seen Bean Sears make an impact for Wellington. With Jamieson 1st in wickets and Tickner 3rd, guess who is 2nd? Ah, no surprise to see Scott Kuggeleijn there and the leading wicket-takers in the Plod Smash are all of the younger variety, but more importantly they are all somewhat unique.
My young gun Dean Foxcroft showed his class with his catching for the Stags, but couldn't put up any runs. Tom Bruce on the other hand continues to dominate as he hit 45* off 31 to close the gap on Michael Bracewell at the top of the run-scoring rankings. Bracewell's 1st, Bruce 2nd and Mitchell is 3rd which means that the batting reflects the bowling in terms of younger lads churning out the big performances.
While these six lads have all been on the domestic circuit for at least a few seasons, to have the three leading run-scorers and wicket-takers all be up and comers, is pretty damn cool. This offers a low key narrative to keep tabs on throughout the remainder of the Plod Smash as we see how these two battles play out and whether someone starts to dominate, or if they all continue to impress.
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Peace and love 27.