Rutherford's gear-shifting ton impresses

Hamish Rutherford
Hamish Rutherford
Hamish Rutherford has added restraint to his game this season and it is working out rather nicely for the Otago opener.

The 29-year-old blazed his second one-day hundred this season.

His knock of 154 from 141 was a career high in the format, and set up a 62-run win against Canterbury at the University of Otago yesterday.

But while there were plenty of those trademark cut shots and lofted drives down the ground, it was a much more measured Rutherford who presented at the crease yesterday.

The pressure of batting with an order a little light on experience has seen the left-hander easing more gently into his work, and it is paying dividends.

Gone are those wild flays outside off in the first over. He is a much more compact player and is more disciplined in his shot selection.

Of course, those rules only hold true for so long. Once he reached a hundred, the old Rutherford emerged.

The trip from 100 to 150 was a rapid and exhilarating one - just 18 balls. In all he stroked 14 fours and five sixes.

''Yes and no,'' Rutherford responded when asked if he was playing with more caution.

''I think with the make-up of our team, it is about building through the innings. That leads to more of a risk-free approach and not being as aggressive as I probably have been in the past.

''That is more of the team plan and I've accommodated that.''

Yesterday's hundred was his third this season - he also scored a Plunket Shield hundred last month.

His form is reminiscent of the wonderful patch he enjoyed six years ago when he scored 607 first-class runs in one remarkable month.

A year later he made his test debut and stunned the cricketing world with a pulsating innings of 171 on debut.

But his form fell away and the selectors ran out of faith. He played the last of his 16 tests almost four years ago.

But the way he is batting, it might not be long before his name is mentioned for higher honours again.

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