Cricket: Records tumble in T/20 runfest

If you were a statistician at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth today you would have earned your money as records kept tumbling in a remarkable Twenty20 match between Central Districts and Wellington.

The game was a battle to avoid the wooden spoon and on their own turf Central Districts proved they were a cut above the visitors as they cruised to a 53-run victory.

Wellington won the toss and asked the home side to bat on the small ground. Central didn't need a second invitation to take the initiative as openers Jamie How (102) and Peter Ingram (97) went about their work.

CD were without Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram with minor injuries, but they wouldn't have got much of a bat had they played as How and Ingram laid on a mammoth opening stand of 201.

Their partnership was second-biggest in Twenty20 history behind Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh's 206 for the King's Punjab XI in the IPL in 2011 and the biggest for the first wicket in all Twenty20 cricket, eclipsing the 192 Hamish Marshall and Kevin O'Brien put on for Gloucestershire last year.

How's maiden Twenty20 century, brought up in 45 balls, was the fastest in New Zealand domestic Twenty20 history, beating the record of 51 balls previously held by Martin Guptill and Chris Harris, and the equal-13th fastest of all time.

Central's 17 sixes were the equal-second most a team had struck in a Twenty20 behind Namibia's 18 against Scotland last year.

CD's total of 222-2 was their second-highest in the HRV Cup, the third-highest in New Zealand domestic Twenty20 history and the second-biggest total at Pukekura Park behind New Zealand A's 227-6 against the England Lions in 2009.

In between all the records being set, Ingram departed in the 17th over and How followed three balls later as the Central innings lost momentum towards the end.

It didn't matter in the long run as their huge total proved far too great for a Wellington side who have looked a long way off the pace throughout the competition and finished with a dismal record of two wins, seven losses and one abandoned fixture.

Youngster Michael Pollard further enhanced his growing reputation as he struck 53 from 35 balls in the ill-fated chase, but only James Franklin (27) looked like lending a hand.

Each of the Central Districts bowlers who took to the crease picked up a wicket and seamer Doug Bracewell was particularly impressive as he nabbed 3-21 from four overs.

Wellington ended up stumbling to 169-9 from their 20 overs and will be eager to return to the 50-over form of the game and put the HRV Cup behind them.

Northern Districts host Otago in the final round-robin game in Hamilton tomorrow, although the result has minimal bearing on the competition. Runaway leaders Auckland will meet Canterbury in Sunday's final at Colin Maiden Park.

- Daniel Richardson of APNZ

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