Wallace century leads Caley to opening win
Craig Wallace tlit up the opening day of the CS Pro20 Blitz with an innings of sheer class as Caley Highlanders launched their campaign with a comfortable 25-run win over Western Warriors in the Titwood sunshine.
Forfarshire star Wallace dominated his side’s innings from start to finish, carrying his bat for a superb unbeaten 111 in a total of 177-4.
The Highlanders’ skipper made his intentions clear from the start by hoisting the first of his seven maximums into the hockey pitches beyond the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Wallace shrugged off the loss of Chris Venske to share a 54-run stand with Chris Greaves during which the pair, running aggressively between the wickets as well as despatching bad balls to the rope, put their team in control.
Greaves stroked four attractive boundaries in his 24-ball 30 before being bowled as Con de Lange made an instant impact.
But the Warriors were unable to stem the flow of runs as Wallace moved effortlessly through the gears.
He reached his half-century with a glorious straight drive off Abdul Sabri which cleared the long-off boundary before launching an even straighter and bigger shot over the sightscreen and out of the ground.
By now Wallace appeared to be in complete command and there was an air of inevitability when he moved to three figures with an improvised reverse “ramp” shot off Scott McElnea which went for one of his eight boundaries.
The hard-hitting opener faced just 68 deliveries in a superb exhibition of stroke-play which must surely have impressed the watching national selectors.
De Lange was the best of the home bowlers with 1-19 and the Warriors player-coach and captain also dominated his side’s batting reply with a brilliant unbeaten 56 from only 27 balls with three maximums.
But by the time he came in de Lange’s team, despite Neil Smith’s 37, had already fallen too far behind the rate and they ended on 152-5, Adrian Neill the most successful Caley bowler with 2-25.
Caley coach Graeme Beghin said: “It was a fantastic innings by Craig and great to see him leading by example.
“He plays by instinct and has a fearless approach to batting. What made the innings even more special was that the wicket wasn’t particularly easy to bat on but he trusted his ability.
“It is great to see our captain leading by example and showing our younger players how to perform at this level.
“Our aim was to start with a positive performance and a win and we’ve managed to do that so hopefully this sets us up nicely for the remainder of the tournament.”
Colin Mitchell, the Warriors manager, was equally full of praise for Wallace’s batting masterclass but also acknowledged that a series of mis-fields had cost his side vital runs.
Copy Willie Dick, Images Donald MacLeod