Jesse Ryder put on a spectacular display in the Wellington Firebirds five wicket victory over the Central Stags at Nelson Park in Napier on Wednesday.
The first round Plunket Shield match produced an absolute thriller, with the Firebirds chasing down their fourth innings target of 342 in just 67 overs.
Ryder did it almost single-handedly, making 174 off just 136 balls to bring up his second consecutive century.
Earlier in the day Doug Bracewell had extended the Stags fourth innings total to 298, before declaring seven wickets down. Bracewell fell for 85, but alongside Will Young (37*) looked to have pushed the home side to an unassailable lead.
But the unbeaten 117 that Ryder had put on in the first innings was just the beginning of what would turn out to be a memorable match for the 28 year-old.
The dynamic batsman once again took it to the Stag’s bowlers, leading his side back from the precarious position of 112 for four.
He crushed 23 fours and two sixes in the innings and brought the side to within 63 of victory. His century came off just 85 balls.
He was dismissed in the 56th over by Carl Cachopa, leaving the task in the capable hands of Luke Woodcock.
Woodcock played sensibly on his way to 69 and alongside Luke Ronchi (36*) secured the incredible victory after 67 overs.