Cricket: Beard, batsmen keys in win

Wellington batsman Jesse Ryder plays uppishly as Nick Beard positions himself for an unsuccessful attempt at a catch during the HRV Cup twenty/20 match at the University Oval in Dunedin.
Wellington batsman Jesse Ryder plays uppishly as Nick Beard positions himself for an unsuccessful attempt at a catch during the HRV Cup twenty/20 match at the University Oval in Dunedin.
When you drop punishing opener Jesse Ryder then you have to something special to make amends.

That is exactly what Otago spinner Nick Beard did during his side's 82-run win over Wellington in a twenty/20 HRV Cup match at the University Oval yesterday.

The 23-year-old left-armer took a personal-best four for 16 to help dismiss the visiting side for 122.

An impressive batting performance from the Otago top order had enabled the home side to post an imposing 204 for three.

Ryder threatened briefly, with a scratchy innings of 37 from 28 deliveries. But Wellington succumbed to scoreboard pressure. It lost regular wickets and struggled to find a way to score off Otago's spin duo Beard and Mark Craig.

Craig took one for 29 from four overs and seamer Ian Butler three for 32. But Beard was the pick of the bowlers.

A shoulder injury and then illness has kept Beard sidelined for much of the early part of the season. Craig's form has also limited Beard's opportunities, but he put some of that frustration behind him with a fine spell yesterday.

''I guess when the opposition are chasing a total like 200, they have to go after you so it is the perfect situation for a spinner,'' Beard said.

''I have to give all the credit to the batsmen because they did extremely well.

''When you have such a big total you can afford to be a bit more attacking in your plans as well.''

Beard injured his shoulder in a warm-up match against Canterbury in October and missed the opening two Plunket Shield games.

He was sidelined with a virus for Otago's opening twenty/20 match and has been overlooked for the first-class side with both Craig and Nathan McCullum preferred.

Beard bowled well in Otago's twenty/20 win against Northern Districts on December 14 and now has seven wickets in two starts.

''It has been a rough start but it is nice to come back and contribute to the team.''

As for that catch - Ryder was on 29 and Beard stretched as far as he could to his left and looked to have made enough ground to stick the catch.

''I made that catch look tougher than it was I think. It was good we managed to get him out. I was thinking he might get away on us.''

Otago opener Neil Broom had a similar slice of luck when he was on two. Having survived, he went on to post 51 from 42 deliveries in 105-run opening stand with Hamish Rutherford (53 from 34).

Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate has had three outings for Otago and been superb in all of them. He smashed 60 from 29 with a good portion of those runs coming off Chris Woakes' last over.

Otago walloped 31 runs from the last over. Ten Doeschate hit three sixes, including one from a waist-high no-ball.

Earlier, Scott Kuggeleijn had been removed from the bowling crease after 1.3 overs for bowling a second waist-high full toss. Ryder had to complete his over.