Petone-Eastbourne won a thrilling T20 semi-final against Onslow to earn a return to the Basin Reserve. As winners of the first edition of the tournament they will be able to defend their CricHQ T/20 Knockout Cup crown on 22 February after what was a topsy-turvy game on Petone Rec.
Sam Blandford won the toss for the home side and elected to bat first figuring runs on the board was a good idea. Things could not have started worse though as they lost their opener Kishen Velani to the third ball of the match – caught behind with the score still on 0. BJ Crook also went for a duck when he was run out and Petone were in trouble at 6-2.
Paul Bascand went on the attack and blazed away in search for quick runs. The score had reached 25 in the fourth over when Kieran Butler was bowled for two. This didn’t deter Bascand though as he went about smashing the ball to most parts, making 80 from 42 balls, including seven sixes. At the other end Gian Botha did his job rotating the strike and hitting a run-a-ball 18 before being dismissed with the score on 99. An over later Bascand went and Petone were eventually bowled out seven balls short of the 20 overs for 125.
The Onslow bowlers would have been pleased with their work. Dan Rose returned from being hit for 16 in his first over to produce 3-25, while Matt McEwan led the attack with 3-23 off 3.5. Alex Ridley was also very economical going for just 19 from his four overs.
Onslow started their chase in perfect fashion picking off runs with ease and when Andrew Fletcher fell for 21 they were going along nicely at just over seven an over. Matt McEwan and Malcolm Nofal then took 35 from the next three overs, to see the score to 70-1 after eight.
Onslow were well on top when BJ Crook came on for Petone and just a single came from his first four balls. This obviously frustrated McEwan who was then trapped LBW and Petone had the breakthrough they needed.
It got even better two balls later when Blandford had Nofal caught for 21. Onslow had two new batsmen at the crease and Petone started to turn the screws. They managed to limit the scoring, which caused frustration and this produced wickets. Onslow could only manage 20 runs from the next six overs and suddenly needed 30 off the last four.
Calvin Harrison and Sam Keegan helped with ones and twos but on the last ball of the 18th over Harrison fell and Petone were back on top. It came down to the last over with Onslow needing nine to win. Kieran Butler was the bowler and after two tight deliveries the equation was eight off four. A single off the third meant that there was only a hit needed to send it to a super over. On the fourth ball Kyle Tonks hit the ball to cover and the two was on. The throw was too good, though, and Tonks was run out having added one. This brought captain Sean O’Connor to the crease with six required off two. He was bowled and six were still needed from the final ball. Beppo Wallace could only manage three and Petone-Eastbourne were off to the final, having won a thriller by just two runs.
BJ Crook and Sam Blandford were the pick of the Petone bowlers returning 2-11 and 2-13 respectively off their four overs. Kieran Butler, entrusted with the final over, was good also with 2-29.
Petone will be excited to have the opportunity to pick up the title 2 years running and the $2500 prize money which comes with it.