Star University 274/10 (A Yugaraja 92, C Fawcett 49, A Winter 3-32) beat Hamilton Old Boys 260-8 (B Hatwell 68*, K Bhatt 46, C Rowell 3-23) by 14 runs. FULL SCORECARD
Star University Cricket Club (Star) have emerged champions of the Spark New Zealand Premier competition after beating Hamilton Old Boys (HOB) by 14 runs in a thrilling final. Upon winning the toss Star Uni captain Elliott Santner elected to bat first in warm conditions.
Star looked to start strong with Santner and Ruben Clinton comfortable at the crease quickly notching up 41 in the opening overs. First change Cooper Rowell had immediate impact with a wicket maiden in his first over to dismiss the in-form Santner. Four balls later, Josh Brown was rewarded for tight bowling upfront as Ruben was clean bowled for an aggressive 27 from 19 balls. Saijith Dhambagolla as the competitions leading run scorer and JWA Field started a a watchful rebuild as HOB restricted Star to only 34 runs between overs 10-20, before Dhambagolla (19) was uncharacteristic run out in the 22nd over, Star 83-3. HOB had their tails up ready to attack the middle order of Arnie Yugaraja and James Field but were quickly nullified as both batters took to the bowling attack. While other batters took time to settle, Yugaraja quickly took charge at the crease as the running between wickets became increasingly proactive and the pressure quickly flipped to bowlers which struggled to control Yugaraja scoring areas. Mike Litang dismissed Field for 42 runs in the 27th over with a beautiful delivery which edged through to Matt Whitley’s gloves. Star enjoyed a 20 over partnership as Chris Fawcett arrival at the crease continued the accumulation of runs and provided the stability for Yugaraja to target the boundary as he cleared the ropes six times. In the closing overs, Rowell trapped Fawcett LBW just short of a half century before bowling A Winter the next ball. A great piece of fielding from Brown ended Yugaraja superb innings of 92 from just 68 balls, and in doing so ensured there was minimal damage in the final overs as HOB made light work of the Star tail-end, dismissing the remaining three batsmen within the last over as Star finished 274 all out.
HOB’s openers Kairav Bhatt and Carl Gallagher started with confidence but it was short lived as B Morris-Brown removed Gallagher (19) in the 6th over. Jake Harvey (43)took it upon himself to steady the ship alongside Bhatt as the pair added 89 for the second wicket. A double blow in the 30th over from fifth change bowler Dhambagolla removed both set batters in consecutive balls as Fawcett and wicket keeper Haydon Black held crucial catches, HOB 125-3.
Star looked to have one hand on the trophy but with Brook Hatwell still at the crease, he sparked life into his teammates as he set about the chase needing 150 from the final 120 balls. Hatwell rotated the strike and ran hard but HOB struggled to find the boundary and as pressure mounted, wickets fell. Brown and Matt Whitley scored at a run an ball, but Yugaraja had a double part to play as he first trapped Brown (20) LBW before holding a crucial catch to remove Whitley. Finishing the innings with 68* and a valiant flurry of boundaries, Hatwell failed to find support at the other end, as Star retained the Spark New Zealand Premier title for the second successive year.
The post match presentation saw Spark NZ present a $1,000 cheque to Star University Cricket Club as winners of the Spark NZ One Day Championship 2019/20, while Arnie Yugaraja was presented a $250.00 cheque for his Player of the Match award.