Critchley hits quick 64 in North victory

Wednesday 21st March 2018
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Matt Critchley hit a quick-fire 64 off just 37 balls as the North claimed victory to level the three-match North-South series in Barbados, with one game to go.

The all-rounder struck four fours and four sixes in his 37-ball onslaught, including one maximum that bounced off the roof of the Greenidge & Haynes Stand and out of the ground.

North Captain, Steven Mullaney said: “Critchley was phenomenal at the end to strike the ball the way he did. That’s why he’s batting where he is because we know we need someone to clear the ropes at the end. He played a magnificent innings.”

Critchley added: “I’ve been out here a couple of weeks now with the England Lions and now the North-South.

“I was determined to go out there and play my natural game. It went pretty well, and it’s a great feeling to be part of the first winning North team. Now we want to win the series.”

Earlier the Worcestershire pair of Joe Clarke (71) and Brett D’Oliveira (79) had laid the foundations for a strong North total, before Critchley ensured the South had too much to chase after posting 335-8.

Even then there were times in the South reply when the North seemed to be staring at defeat, as Gubbins again played beautifully, and Laurie Evans hit 64 from 67 balls.

But Richard Gleeson yorked Gubbins for 109 and then dismissed Delray Rawlins two balls later to change the momentum, and Parkinson then showed his skill to keep up the pressure.

Both teams made two changes to ensure that all 13 of their squads had been involved in the series, with Ollie Pope and Jamie Porter replacing John Simpson and Tom Barber for the South, and Critchley and Matt Fisher replacing Keaton Jennings and Zak Chappell for the North.

Sam Northeast chose to bowl after ending a run of four consecutive toss defeats for the South, but the North got off to a flier with an opening stand of 95 inside 11 overs between Joe Clarke and Alex Davies.

Paul Walter broke the stand by bowling Davies for 42 with a slower ball, then had Sam Hain snapped up by Delray Rawlins at mid wicket.

Clarke powered on to 71 from 58 balls with two sixes and nine fours but his dismissal, pulling Dom Bess to mid-wicket where Sam Curran took a sharp catch, followed the loss of Adam Hose in the previous over, and meant that at 132 for four the North had lost four for 37.

As in the first game, Brett D’Oliveira joined his captain Steven Mullaney to steady the ship in an intelligent fifth-wicket stand.

This time they put on 108 in 18 overs before Mullaney drove Bess to cover, deserved reward for the Somerset spinner who earned figures of two for 47 from his 10 overs.

But D’Oliveira, who had reached his 50 with a straight six off Ravi Patel, moved to 79 off 83 balls before he drove Curran to long on.

And Critchley provided the North with perfect late-order impetus as he swung four sixes in an innings of 64 from 37 balls to help put his side out of reach.

The series decider will take place this Friday in Barbados.

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