Rippon stars in Otago win against CD

Michael Rippon
Michael Rippon
No hugs. No high fives. No handshakes. And no polishing the ball with saliva.

New Zealand Cricket moved yesterday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by recommending the above measures.

It would have taken all the fun out of the celebrations for Otago had anyone listened.

There is nothing quite like spitting on the ball after registering a good win, after all.

Michael Rippon certainly did not listen. He played a match-winning knock of 95 not out to guide Otago to a dramatic three-wicket win against Central Districts with just one over to spare at the University of Otago Oval yesterday.

The Stags had earlier declared at 256 for two, setting Otago a target of 288.

The Volts slumped to 139 for five. But Rippon got support from Nathan Smith (28) and Dale Phillips (30) to help nudge his team close to the prize.

He sealed the win when he whipped a delivery to the midwicket boundary.

Commence handshaking. And why not — it was a terrific knock. Probably the best of his career.

"Ask me that tomorrow," he said.

"Nathan and I have batted together quite a few times and have had quite a few big partnerships. So we had that belief that we can do it and it was just about batting time and not taking unnecessary risks until the game dictated that we needed to."

Rippon and Smith stabilised the innings with a partnership of 41.

But it was partnership between Rippon and Phillips which set up the win. The pair added 84 from 105 balls.

Phillips was bowled with victory in sight. But Rippon slapped a couple of late sixes to release some run-rate pressure.

One of those sixes almost went to hand.

"To be honest, I thought it went straight up ... so I had no idea where the ball went."

It went over long off for six but only just.

Earlier, Will Young blazed his eighth first-class century and combined in a damaging 184-run partnership with opener Greg Hay.

The pair adopted a cavalier approach in the hope of rattling on quick runs and getting their side into a position to make a positive declaration.

Young, who resumed on 61, was in dazzling form. He played any number of classy shots you could single out but it was his timing which stood out the most.

He has been long hailed as heir apparent should one of the Black Caps top order become unavailable.

Based on yesterday’s effort, that international debut should come sooner rather than later.

Ironically, his century came up off a rare mistake. He got a top edge which flew to the rope for four.

His hundred came up off 103 balls and he was undefeated on 133 from 118 balls when the visiting side declared.

Hay chipped in with 76 and played a wonderful support role.

The declaration seemed quite generous. Central had piled on runs at nearly six an over.

Yet it asked Otago to score at under four an over to win.

It was the sort of target you cannot easily give up on.

Consequently, Otago stayed on the hook longer despite suffering regular setbacks.

Everybody in the Volts top order got a start but only Dean Foxcroft (51) was able to go on. He posted his second first-class half century.

It all came down to the last 10 overs. Otago needed 64 from those 60 deliveries with four wickets in hand.

Wellington strengthened its spot at the top of the Plunket Shield standings by beating Auckland by an innings and seven runs at Colin Maiden Park.

Auckland had resumed the day needing a further 30 runs to make Wellington bat again. But Michael Bracewell picked up the last two wickets to complete his maiden five-wicket haul.

In Hamilton, Northern Districts registered its first win of the campaign. Set 354 for victory, Canterbury folded to be all out for 172. Joe Walker starred with five for 41.

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