Auckland Aces defeated Northern Districts by one wicket with one ball to spare
Eden Park Outer Oval
1-4 March 2020
Auckland winning a first-class game by one wicket:— Francis Payne (@FPayne100) March 4, 2020
v Wellington, Wellington, 1893/94
v Wellington, Wellington, 1911/12
v Otago, Auckland, 1946/47
v Canterbury, Auckland, 1950/51
v Canterbury, Christchurch, 1963/64
v ND, Auckland, 2019/20
Bonus Points: Aces 6, ND 6
Total Points this round: Aces 18, ND 6
- Tim Seifert was Ben Horne's 100th first-class dismissal
- Ben Horne maiden first-class century
- Joe Carter reached 2000 first-class runs in the first innings
- Joe Carter highest first-class score (previous best 125)
- Fifth and sixth times two centuries have been scored by one player in a first-class match at Eden Park Outer Oval
- Mark Chapman highest first-class score, twice (previous best 114 (NZ A); previous best for Auckland 104)
- First time in the Plunket Shield (established 1906/07) that two batsmen have scored a century in each innings in the same match
- Record 6th wicket partnership for Auckland Aces v Northern Districts (205) between Chapman and Horne
- Best first-class bowling for Sean Solia (previously 3-23)
This season's introduction of a new style of Kookaburra, with an extra layer of lacquer and cross-stitching, will be trialled for rounds five and six only, with the final two rounds to be played with the usual ball.
A cool change and showery weather initially messed with the final day of a fascinating contest. In the end, it only spiced up a brilliant chase.
After a delayed start, only 7.4 overs of play was possible before lunch, but that was long enough for Jimmy Baker to snaffle both Martin Guptill, caught by Katene Clarke, and Glenn Phillips for a golden to have the Aces 32/2 at the break.
Soon after play resumed, slippery Baker was in the wickets again - bang, bang, Jeet Raval and Robbie O'Donnell back in the sheds now as well, with the Aces 72 for four after just 18.4 overs.
With a start already, the pressure now fell on Mark Chapman, again, to save the day.
Mark Chapman did it again | All images © PHOTOSPORT
The first-innings centurion was almost in sight of his half century when he then lost the services of Sean Solia, caught behind off Scott Kuggeleijn; before eventually raising the bat again for his 50.
The complexion of the chase was rapidly changing with the loss of each wicket, and Chapman was forced into a more circumspect role at 108 for five, the target still a long way off.
Ben Horne proved a capable ally, however, putting on a century-stand with Chapman and raising his own half ton as Chapman, on 97*, drew close to yet another century for the match.
The livewire pair had escalated the pace of their stand as they went along, and now, in the last session, Horne boomed his first six off Brett Randell to chisel the runs required down to 151.
Next over, Chapman stroked a single off Ish Sodhi to make history. It was not only the first time Chapman had scored a century in each innings, but the first time in more than a century of the Plunket Shield that two batsmen had scored a century in each innings in the same match.
Happy Chappy! The first time in #PlunketShield history that two batsmen have scored a century in each innings - @aucklandcricket's Mark Chapman joining @ndcricket captain Joe Carter in the 💯+ 💯 club at @edenparknz Outer Oval 👏👏👏https://t.co/FgiUMuAeTw pic.twitter.com/5oSt9wVxeC— #NZIII (@MargotButcher) March 4, 2020
But this was about more than statchat. With the other two fifth-round matches having finished in comprehensive outrights, the Aces were now loitering at the wrong end of the points table, just above last-placed ND, pending the addition of bonus points. Both sides desperately needed this win for the extra 12 points it would confer.
Could we do this? ... 🔥— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) March 4, 2020
Time for Horne and Chapman to put the foot down, bringing the required rate down to less than run a ball - and now fewer than 100 runs needed with a still-tight 17 overs remaining to get them.
Racing against the clock, the pair galloped past the 157-mark that had represented, for more than four decades, the Auckland sixth wicket record for matches against Northern Districts - set by John F. Reid & John Wiltshire at Eden Park 1977/78.
Mitchell Santner and Scott Kuggeleijn replaced Ish Sodhi and Randell in the attack and still the runs flowed at better than the asking rate.
Just when it had seemed to slow to singles as Horne - with his career best a 93 - closed in on the nervous 90s again, he smashed a six off Santner to gallop through those, as well.
The pair chalked up the Aces' 300 with Horne moving to 98* and Chapman in sight of another milestone of his own on 140*, and the stand approaching 200.
With 12 overs left, Horne reached his maiden first-class century in the most dramatic run chase of his career, off just 97 balls (12 boundaries, two sixes).
BIRTHDAY HUNDRED | Ben Horne brings up his maiden First-Class hundred from 98 balls. Quite an inning from the birthday boy!#FollowSuit #PlunketShield— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) March 4, 2020
ACES 351/5 dec and 307/5 | Northern Districts 438 and 283 | LIVE SCORECARD | https://t.co/T1Tf2hp2NL
He would blast one more six next over to take the stand to 205 before Kuggeleijn struck next ball, Horne caught on 107 (102 balls) at 313/6.
Matt McEwan now had the task of trying to assist Chapman and get the team over the line, still with no time to waste. But dot balls began to sprinkle the score sheets as Kuggeleijn got a sniff of wickets. The pressure going on Chapman to take the strike and keep on track, Kuggeleijn's following over produced the massive wicket of Chapman, caught in deep by Jimmy Baker after a stupendous 146.
The Aces still needed 53 runs, nine overs left, three wickets in hand but the required rate going back up over run-a-ball as Lockie Ferguson joined McEwan at the battlefront.
The hard-working Kuggeleijn soon had his fourth in McEwan, diving to hold a return catch : 328/3, now, and another important breakthrough for ND with McEwan having just tapped two boundaries to keep the home hopes bubbling.
Louis Delport joined Ferguson with RPO 5.86 now the ask, seven and a half overs left in the match. Could they yet pull off one of Auckland's greatest victories? Spinner versus spinner, Delport connected with Santner next over to send the ball over the rope: eight off the first two balls! Thirteen runs off the over! 30 off 36 balls now the equation!
Kuggeleijn would concede only four runs from the next set, but Santner's return was met by another six, Ferguson this time doing the honours to pare the target down to 19 at RPO 4... 11 runs taken from the over, now it was just 14 runs to go.
A Delport boundary off Santner, a Ferguson boundary off Kuggeleijn: both team camps were on the edge of their seat. Delport found the boundary again off Sodhi who had replaced his spinning mate: just three more runs now stood between the hosts and victory, two overs to get them with Kuggeleijn turning into his run-up.
He nervelessly conceded just a single off the over, off his first ball: Ferguson now faced the task of taking two from Sodhi's last. But very next ball, he was plumb - trapped in front, Sodhi had struck, 369 for nine and now ND had a real chance once more.
Could a first-class match get any more thrilling than this?
Tall young left-armer Ben Lister strode out to the middle. Just a single would tie the game. He found it off the second ball he faced. Scores level. Delport on 20* to face, three balls remaining. Sodhi fighting. Dot ball. Penultimate delivery. Delport saw it coming and backed himself, lashing the ball to the straight boundary.
The Aces had done it - one of Auckland's greatest Plunket Shield victories, in the nick of time, by one wicket, one ball, the clock almost at 7.15PM after an unforgettable afternoon. They were now in second spot on the ladder.
Northern Districts captain Joe Carter has become the first player since Jesse Ryder at Saxton Oval in November 2017 to score a century in each innings of a Plunket Shield match.
After earlier support from first drop Bharat Popli (56), Carter achieved the rare feat at Eden Park Outer Oval with his second century in the three days of play chalked up with due caution in the final session.
Here are the previous 10 players to record centuries in each innings of a first-class match in New Zealand. The last player to do it at the Outer Oval was Richard Jones in 2007 for @aucklandcricket. #StatChat pic.twitter.com/BV2xQSmnST— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 3, 2020
Inching through the 90s for a second time, Carter lost partners when he was 96* and 97* as pace ace Lockie Ferguson and spinner Louis Delport fought in tandem to claim his wicket.
Carter had scored a career-best 169 in the first innings before falling to Delport, and eventually reached his fourth first-class century in the final session of the penultimate day off 176 balls, in 218 mins (12 x 4, 1 x 6).
Aces keeper Ben Horne had pouched his 100th first-class catch when he caught Katene Clarke off Ferguson while Carter was on 96*, then keeper-batsman Peter Bocock followed Clarke back in at the overcast ground after he was trapped by Delport for just a single.
Delport finally stopped run machine Carter on 120, 10 overs further down the track - by which time ND's overall lead had stretched to 349, with three wickets still remaining.
Delport quickly wrapped up the innings, however, and the Auckland Aces will begin their chase on the final morning needing 371 for a win, at a tad under four per over: game on.
TONE SET | Just two Mark Chapman sixes to get Day Three underway at the Outer Oval. #FollowSuit #PlunketShield— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) March 2, 2020
ACES 265/3 | Northern Districts 438 | LIVE SCORECARD | https://t.co/T1Tf2hp2NL pic.twitter.com/jQ6QmeKcSO
Earlier in the day, Ace Mark Chapman had carried on from his overnight 131* to reach 143 before Mitch Santner ended his stay, caught by Bharat Popli to end a brisk career-best effort and a 131-stand with Robbie O'Donnell to back up his century stand the previous day with Guptill.
O'Donnell followed 10 overs later on 65 after an outstanding running catch from, you guessed it, opposing skipper Joe Carter.
After bright and breezy duo Sean Solia and Ben Horne added a quick 34 runs for the sixth, O'Donnell called them in as he declared 87 runs behind at 351 for five.
Mark Chapman headed to stumps at his home ground Eden Park Outer Oval unbeaten on 131 not out, the biggest first-class effort yet from his Auckland Aces career.
It was an invaluable and timely contribution.
HUNDRED | Mark Chapman brings up a positive 3rd First Class century. It's taken the left-hander 130 balls as the ACES cross 200.#FollowSuit #PlunketShield— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) March 2, 2020
ACES 200/3 | Northern Districts 438 | LIVE SCORECARD | https://t.co/T1Tf2hp2NL pic.twitter.com/tLc6fhXEpG
Two quick strikes after lunch had seen the Aces in early trouble at 40/2 in response to ND's imposing 438 all out in their first innings - maximum batting bonuses in the bank, after aggressive ND captain Carter had eased past his previous first-class career best 125 to a new personal benchmark of 169.
Carter had been the final ND wicket to fall, having batted four hours and shared a 59-stand with youngster Katene Clarke backed up by a 72-stand with Peter Bocock before two quick wickets from Sean Solia opened the door for the hosts to attack the tail.
The Aces began their reply with a traditionally tricky five-over period before lunch, and soon lost both Jeet Raval and Glenn Phillips after the repast.
However, a century-stand between Martin Guptill (63) and Chapman got the hosts back on track after the break, with no further loss before tea.
Mitchell Santner finally picked up Guptill's wicket, but it came in absolutely luckless fashion for the international batsman, the ball popping up off his body as he looked to fend, and merrily rolling behind him onto his wicket.
Chapman was unfazed by all this as he set about building a new century-stand with captain Robbie O'Donnell (below).
The pair would carry on through the afternoon and would resume their unbroken 112*-run stand for the fourth wicket with O'Donnell 31 not out.
Northern youngster Clarke, fielding under the helmet, was injured by a Guptill pull shot and substituted for the remainder of the day, in just his second first-class game.
Despite two early strikes to a refreshed Ace of pace Lockie Ferguson, twin centuries to Henry Cooper and Joe Carter (below) spelt a very good day out for Northern Districts at Eden Park Outer Oval.
Northern, the Plunket Shield cellar-dwellers this season, were looking to fight their way back through the back end of the season and would make it to the end of the opening day on 303 for four, a good effort after having been sent in.
Cooper’s 111 was his second first-class century this season, the fourth of his career; while captain Carter’s unbeaten 116* when bad light ended play was the third hundred of his Plunket Shield career as he continues to step up across the board.
The pair had ensured ND recovered from 89 for two, Ferguson (below) having got both Tim Seifert and Bharat Popli caught behind ahead of what would become a 176-run stand for the third wicket.
Competition Winner: Wellington Firebirds
|1 –||Wellington Firebirds||6||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||15||20||83||5.34|
|4||Logan van Beek||19|