Kieran Read's Team Rugby edged by Team Cricket in Black Clash
Team Rugby have fallen agonisingly shy of beating Team Cricket in New Zealand’s inaugural Black Clash, a T20 format cricket match that pits local stars of the cricket world against those of the rugby world.
This year, the match again included former All Blacks captains Richie McCaw and Kieran Read, the latter putting in another superb performance claiming a hat-trick before recording 73 runs with the bat.
Rugby unions the world over would have been caught drooling over Team Rugby’s coaching box, as Sir Graham Henry partnered with Crusaders mastermind Scott Robertson to offer some back-room banter and presumably not much in the way of cricket coaching.
Also featuring in the rugby squad was All Black outside back come second-five Jordie Barrett and former All Black Israel Dagg; numerous rumours surround Dagg’s cricketing prowess as a youngster but none could be confirmed as a knee injury kept the World Cup winner out of the bowling and batting rotations.
Team Cricket, led by Black Cap legend Daniel Vettori, featured a number of familiar faces to the cricket community such as Nathan McCullum and Hamish Marshall but also a wildcard in former Wallaby Nick “The Honey Badger” Cummins.
This year’s contest was the fifth instalment and broke the tiebreaker to give Team Cricket an all-time 3-2 series lead.
Team Cricket came out of the gates firing, the opening partnership of Hamish Marshall and Anton Devcich looked to have their side on track for a run total well north of 200, but ended the innings at 198-9 after the 20 overs.
Read’s match-high 73 runs looked like a promising start to the chase for Team Rugby, but the run rate slowed and in the end, the match came down to the final over with Read’s side needing 16 runs off the final six balls.
The Chiefs’ Kaylum Boshier faced the first of those six balls and was caught near the boundary, being dismissed after contributing 44 runs. Black Cap Todd Astle was the man entrusted to bowl the final over, showing his class on the first ball and looking to close the door on Team Rugby’s chances at victory.
Young Jock McKenzie replaced Boshier and faced the next two balls, only managing to register a single to leave Andrew Ellis (the cricketer) with the tall order of landing 15 runs off three balls. Ellis ignited hope by firing the next ball for six but rounded out the game with a pair of singles. Team Rugby’s end total was 192-5.
The big highlight from the match was Read’s strong performance, the No 8 also produced a wild moment when he accidentally let go of his bat mid-swing to send the bat flying into the field.
Earlier, Read had welcomed his old foe The Honey Badger to the field by faking an underarm bowl, a reference to the infamous underarm controversy of 1981 where Australian bowler Trevor Chappell rolled the ball to Kiwi batsman Brian McKechnie on the final ball of the match to ensure an Australian win. The play is now an iconic moment in the sporting rivalry between the two nations.
In between innings, the teams played a single over for charity, with $1000 being donated to Surf Life Saving New Zealand for every run scored. Anton Devcich and Hamish Marshall rose to the occasion and $27,000 was donated.
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free