Gardiner blasts Highlanders to T20 win
From Photos: Ian Potts
Highlanders 187/7 (Gardiner 82, Munsey 40, Kashif 3-36) beat the Hurricanes 159/8 (Cooper 77, Burnett 2-28, Evans 2-31) by 28 runs at Forthill.
The Highlanders kept their 100% success rate in the North Sea Pro Series T20 at Forthill on Sunday as they impressed with both bat and ball in a high scoring encounter.
Having lost the toss to the visitors, the Hurricanes put the hosts in to bat, with Munsey and Gardiner happy to go in and have a swing.
The ground, situated in Broughty Ferry, Dundee has a big outfield but was playing pretty slick and both batsmen were scoring freely to all areas of the ground.
Such was the confidence of Munsey, he mis-timed a paddle shot which hit his own helmet, but thankfully he was able to shake off the knock and continue playing creatively.
He would be the first Highlander to fall, with the score accelerated to 67/1 in the 8th over, with the hosts already looking at setting up a big target. Leask came in and quickly departed for 12 from eight balls and Chalmers was caught shortly afterwards leaving the score poised at 81/3.
Hamish Gardiner stood firm at the other end and took on every one of the Dutch bowlers, reaching is half-century in just 36 balls, and he would push through right to the end of the innings before finally being caught for 82. His innings from 77 balls, including nine boundaries, delighted the crowd at Forthill. Craig Wallace, playing on his home ground, provided support with 23 before a flurry of wickets in the last two overs saw the Highlanders finish on 187/7.
Needing 188 runs to win, the Hurricanes got off to the worst possible start loosing Ahmed from the second ball of the innings as he picked out Munsey at square leg, the Highlanders opting to open the bowling with spinner Gossain. While the early breakthrough might have slowed down the start of the innings, Ben Cooper was scoring freely, as he hit both opening bowlers for six and kept the run-rate high.
The Highlanders rotated their bowling options, using six players including three spinners - Watt, Leask and Gossain as they looked to take pace off the ball and make it hard for the visitors to score big.
The team effort was further seen in the field with five catches being taken as the Highlanders took wickets at regular intervals but could not dismiss Cooper, and while he was still at the crease the chase was always possible.
Entering the 16th over with 57 runs still needed to win, Mark Watt provided the breakthrough as he bowled Cooper looking to reverse sweep. Cooper departed for 77 runs from just 44 balls and might have been able to pull the Hurricanes over the line had he received some support, with the next top-scorer being only 25.
Evans and Burnett returned with the pace bowling in the final few overs to tie up the Highlanders tail and finish the innings on 159/8.
The two sides will return tomorrow for the North Sea Pro 50 starting at 10.30am.
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