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Sportsfreak reports on the second round of cricket’s Plunket Shield

Another report involving Wellington sport from the popular blog Sportsfreak, including Wellington’s high-scoring victory over Otago at the Basin Reserve. You can read all columns, including reader comments at https://www.sportsfreak.co.nz/ and follow on Twitter at @Sportsfreakconz

Pigeons at the Basin

Round 2 of Plunket Shield is done, and now we wait until December, briefly, and then late February for it to resume.

Two games finished within three days. Defending champions Central Districts seems to be doing this easily, especially when you consider their input into the NZ A tour, and that Ross Taylor was rested for this round.

They scored 360 themselves at the Sandringham Road Mobil forecourt, before innings of 184, 174 and 199 sorted out a routine win.

At the Basin Reserve it was even more ruthless.  The hosts scored 509/5 declared on their way to an innings and 101 run win. It’s going to be a really tough season for Otago, especially with all that time that needs to go into working out how to run between the wickets.

For the second consecutive match there was an Otago innings where the biggest partnership was provided by the 10th wicket.

But the best match of the round ended up being at Hagley Oval.  It was a match hit by rain early, but with Northern Districts ahead throughout. The hosts were set a nominal 385 for victory on the final day, and at 179/2 after tea looked assured of claiming the draw.

They then lost 7 wickets in under 20 overs, and lost a batsman to concussion (guess who the bowler was) and had to make use of their 12th man. Somehow that last partnership held on for the last seven overs against Sodhi and Wagner to secure that draw.

A summary of how the big names went, and other highlights

Batsmen

Leading the batting in this round was easily Wellington’s Devon Conway with 203*.  He becomes eligible to represent New Zealand in early 2020. His schoolboy mate Malcolm Nofal made 110 in the same innings.

Dane Cleaver made 117 for the competition leaders, Colin de Grandhomme scored 115; his debut century for ND St Germain and Canterbury opener Jack Boyle (108) scored his maiden first class century as part of the Hagley Oval rearguard action.

Of the other players heading to the UAE, Raval made 8 & 57, Latham 18 & 2, Nicholls 41 & 54, and Ish Sodhi scored a 50.

Bowlers

Despite some pretty low scores across the round there weren’t many stand-out bowling figures.

Hamish Bennett took 4/60, and Sodhi 4/82 (38 overs) in that last day in Christchurch.  In the same innings Wagner took 3/50.

Sodhi and Wagner battling hard, and a match ends up as a draw at Hagley Oval.  A variant on a script from earlier in the year.