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Stags leap to top of Plunket Shield standings

Published: 10:05PM Tuesday November 20, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

  • Jeet Raval (Source: Photosport)
    Jeet Raval - Source: Photosport

The Central Stags have catapulted to the top of the Plunket Shield points table with an emphatic eight wicket win over the Northern Knights at Harry Barker Reserve in Gisborne.

Resuming the final day at two without loss and needing another 93 to win, the Stags maintained complete control and wrapped up the victory after 20.3 overs.

Jeet Raval backed up his first innings' score of 73 with an unbeaten 57 and alongside Matthew Sinclair (7*) guided his team to a comfortable victory.

The only two casualties of the day were Jamie How for 20 and Carl Cachopa on 9, who were both captured by Knights' strike-bowler Brent Arnel. Raval though ensured no miraculous turn-around came about and played freely to bring up his second half-century of the match off 71 balls.

While the batsmen may have had the final word, it was the Stags' bowling attack who set up the points for the visitors.

Youngsters Ben Wheeler and Adam Milne took eight wickets between them on day three to limit the Knights to 252 all out. Combined with their first-innings total of 183, it gave the home side a lead of just 94 against the Stag's initial hit out of 341.

It was a comprehensive performance from the Stags, who have won two and lost one in their first three games of the season.

The Knights continue to look for their first outright victory, having lost two and drawn one. They currently sit in fifth on the points table.

Meanwhile Day two of the match between the Canterbury Wizards and Wellington Firebirds in Rangiora was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to persistent showers.