The Canterbury Wizards remained the only unbeaten team in the HRV Cup after a tense six-run win over the Central Stags today, ensuring the hosts leave Nelson empty-handed from their two-day venture to the South Island.
The Stags, eight-wicket losers to the Wellington Firebirds at Saxton Oval yesterday, were able to use their knowledge of the slow, low wicket to restrict the Wizards to 147 for eight from their 20 overs, but the visitors proved quick learners, too, as they were able to get the most out of the pitch to score their second successive win.
The Stags were cruising to victory after a second-wicket stand of 111 between George Worker (59 from 54 balls) and Mathew Sinclair (44 from 44), but when they fell within three runs of each other, the hosts collapsed.
Fast bowler Richard Sherlock (two for 26) and the two imports, Ryan ten Doeschate and Dirk Nannes were instrumental for the Wizards, ten Doeschate claiming the crucial wickets of Worker and Sinclair while Nannes conceded just 15 runs from four overs.
The Wizards made a good start on the slow Saxton Oval wicket with a 68-run opening stand inside nine overs before Peter Fulton departed after bludgeoning 40 off 27 balls, including three sixes.
As was the case in yesterday's match, the spinners halted proceedings mid-innings as the Wizards failed to push on after being handily placed at 100 for three after 13 overs.
They lost their last five wickets for 11 runs in the last two overs, including three wickets off the final three balls of the 20th over bowled by impressive young speedster Adam Milne, who finished with two for 19 from three overs.