Eastern Suburbs and Karori will meet in a final for the second time this season when they go head to head at the Basin Reserve this Friday, Saturday Sunday in the Pearce Cup decider. Easts convincingly won the first meeting between the sides at Kilbirnie Park back in January in the One-Day Final. Karori will be keen to exact revenge for this match and will also be excited to be back to the Basin for the first time since 2012/13 when they lost to Easts by 9 wickets.
Easts come into the game as top qualifiers meaning that if the tropical summer continues they hold all the cards. They have held top position this season for a long time now and apart from a brief slip up against Upper Hutt back in December they have never really looked like loosing this grip. A first innings draw against Johnsonville in the first round was slightly underwhelming but they managed to bounce back the next week to account for Upper Hutt in a day. This was remarkable in more ways than one as they went from staring down the barrel at 4-4 to scoring 279 declared and wrapping up the game late in the day. Rain then started to intervene again as the first day against Taita was a wash out and meant they accounted for the side easily in a 50 over match. Two very disappointing games then followed a no result on the first innings after a rained out day 2 against Hutt District and then while they managed a first innings victory against Karori day 2 of this match was also washed out.
Matt Ansell and Jimad Khan lead the way with the bat for the side in what limited opportunity they have had but they hold threats the whole way down with a strong batting line-up and a tenacious lower order who will very regularly hold on for a while frustrating opposition. With the ball their attack needs no talking up and while it is one of the older attacks in the competition and has been around for years they hold experience and posses the ability to change a game. Ricky Joseph and Peter Connell will lead it with Jamie Gibson and Lance Dry to follow. A side with plenty of experience who have been there and done this all before. They will not be short of motivation though and they were extremely hurt last year when they were unable to retain the Pearce Cup.
Karori you could argue are slightly lucky to be in the final but can thank some good cricket played against Johnsonville and Upper Hutt for getting them there. They started their Pearce Cup campaign poorly against Taita giving up first innings points at home. With one eye on the one day final the same weekend this might have explained it as they next round they turned what was looking to be a close match into a thrashing. They were on the ropes against Johnsonville but the small first innings lead they got proved motivation as they bounced back to give themselves a win by over 100 runs. They lost a close match against Hutt when the matches were reduced to One-Day affairs. They really needed a big performance against Upper Hutt and they got it by batting first and then bowling Upper Hutt out cheaply and making them follow on. While rain washed out the chance to take an outright in that match the first innings win points gained proved valuable. A disappointing match against Easts in the final round in more ways then one with the side being bundled out for 64 after a good bowling performance. They will take a lot from the bowling performance and what to very quickly forget about the batting.
They have a strong batting line-up on their day with some power hitters. They will need these guys to step up for this match as they will need a big total in one of the innings to realistically look at winning the title. Their bowling attack poses a decent threat and they will take great confidence from dismissing Easts for 139 the other week. Jarred Sewell will skipper the side and prove valuable with both bat and ball.
You could argue either way as to who the pressure is on. Karori can play with freedom knowing they have nothing to lose and will be able to play attacking cricket to force the result they need while Easts have seen this all before and while they know they only need a draw Lance Dry has been around for long enough to know if you try and play cricket like that it can only go one way. Whatever the case it will be a very interesting 3 days.
The match starts at 10:30 on Friday and Saturday while will start at 9:30 on Sunday due to daylight savings with the venue being the Basin Reserve. The match will be live scored on CricHQ.
Eastern Suburbs: L Dry (c), M Ansell, P Connell, A Fullerton-Smith, L Georgeson, J Gibson, L Johns, R Joseph, J Khan, B Orton, J Price, J Wiggins
Karori: J Sewell (c), J Banecivich, J Bhula, M Butler, Z Desai, H King, S Noster, S Peterson, D Pile, J Sole, H Wright
Umpires: Cory Black & Tyron Davies