The SKYCITY Northern Knights have slumped to their first defeat of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament, going down by 86 runs to Australia's Hobart Hurricanes at the Chhattisgarh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur. A strong finish to the Hurricanes innings lifted them to 178 from their twenty overs. The Knights innings never got underway, with Scott Styris and Tim Southee the only batsmen to reach double figures, eventually finishing all out for 92 in the 17th over.
The Knights won the toss and bowled first, with Tim Southee and Trent Boult restricting the Hurricanes openers to 20-1 from the first five overs. Tim Paine got stuck into the change bowlers and quickly lifted the run-rate dramatically, with the dewy conditions making ball control difficult,. Aiden Blizzard was dropped by Ish Sodhi from his own bowling on two, and it proved costly as he went on to make 62 from 43 balls, including five fours from one Boult over.
Sodhi removed Paine, caught Boult, for 43 from 34 in the tenth over, but Shoaib Malik's arrival at the crease only upped the tempo, showing little difficulty playing on a slightly two-paced wicket. Southee nabbed Blizzard in the 19th over caught by Styris, but by then the damage had been done - 76 runs coming from the last five overs to lift the Hurricanes to 178-3.
The Knights chase never really gained momentum. Anton Devcich was spectacularly caught by sometime-Knight Ben Laughlin for two in the second over, while Ben Hilfenhaus, who finished with 14-3 from his four overs, picked up in-form Kane Williamson and skipper Daniel Flynn in successive balls in the third over.
From there it was one-way traffic as, wickets fell regularly in the dew. Styris attempted a rear-guard action to score 37 from 27 before being caught by Jonathan Wells from Joe Mennie's bowling. Southee flung the bat to make 21 from 12, before the last three wickets fell in the 17th over to end the match.
The heavy defeat drops the SKYCITY Northern Knights to third in the group and their net run rate from +4.5 to -1.94. They'll look to bounce back in their next match against India's Kings XI Punjab starting 2.30am NZ time on Saturday 27 September.