A remarkable batting onslaught by openers Jamie How and Peter Ingram rewrote a Twenty20 world record and set the Central Stags up for a comfortable HRV Cup win over the Wellington Firebirds today.
How scored 102 off just 48 balls and Ingram 97 off 54 as they shared a stand of 201 en route to the Stags posting a mighty 222 for two at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.
The last-placed Firebirds were always under the pump chasing such a sizeable target and after staying with the pace they eventually struggled through to 169 for nine to see the Stags end their campaign with a dominant 53-run victory,
How and Ingram were unstoppable at a venue known for its smallish dimensions and both swatted eight sixes as the Firebirds were put to the sword, particularly between the 10th and 15th overs when 90 runs were plundered.
The Stags’ first Twenty20 century opening stand was converted into a double and along the way Ingram and How bettered the previous best Twenty20 first wicket partnership of 192 put together by New Zealander Hamish Marshall and Irishman Kevin O’Brien for English county side Gloucestershire.
Ingram dominated the early strike as well as the scoring, passing 50 off 37 balls before How took over, reaching his own half-century from only 30 balls then going on to each three figures off 45 for the fastest domestic Twenty20 century in this country.
He eventually departed when caught in the deep, one over after Ingram exited, bowled by left-armer Andy McKay when he went searching for his third six of the 17th over.
McKay was comfortably the pick of the attack, adopting a round-the-wicket approach in the latter stages as he conceded just three runs off the penultimate over before finishing with the comparatively impressive figures of one for 31 off four.
The Firebirds were a good chance at 132 for three in the 13th over but the dismissal of Michael Pollard, who edged a ball from Michael Mason behind after hitting eight fours in a 35-ball 54, proved pivotal.
The Firebirds offered little after that, with fast bowler Doug Bracewell picking up two wickets within three balls in the 17th over before finishing with the figures of three for 21 off four overs.