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Red Star target two from two

Jake Jonas, playing a shot in his 77 against United, will play his last game for Red Star before heading to university. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
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Burger King Red Star will take a big step towards a semifinals spot in the Coastal Challenge one-day championship if they beat Whanganui Marist in an away match today.

Both scored comprehensive victories – Red Star hammering United [Wairarapa] by 127 runs at Greytown and Marist dispatching Whanganui United by seven wickets – in the first round of 50-over matches.

The Red Star top order is likely to be unchanged, with Jake Jonas, who gets to play one final game for the club after his flights to Christchurch to start university were rescheduled, and Robbie Anderson as openers.

The pair were outstanding against United, setting the platform for Red Star’s imposing total of 301-4 with an opening stand of 115 in 25 overs.

Captain Stefan Hook, hot off the back of 84 in that game, will come in at first drop, followed by Nathan Elliott and Mark Steventon, who made useful cameos in the latter overs.

The return of veteran bowler Pete Sigvertsen adds depth to the bowling attack. His combination with strike bowler Hook has been crucial to Red Star’s success in recent seasons.

His accurate medium-slow seamers can be difficult to get away on the often low, slow Victoria Park pitch, especially if overhead conditions are conducive to swing.

Jonas, with his accurate medium pace, and last week’s surprise package, former All Black Zac Guildford, who snagged 4-36 with his off-spin, provide the backup. Veteran medium-pacer Jared Watt is expected to make a surprise return to the side.

Marist, the 2018-19 champions, boasting many players with representative experience, will be tough to crack.

The O’Leary brothers, Hadleigh and Shaun, opener John McIlraith, and prolific runscorer Mark Fraser, who has scored numerous centuries at club and representative level, will be prized wickets for Red Star.

Connor O’Leary, Nick Harding, and Fraser Kinnerley, three experienced representative campaigners, will shoulder much of the bowling load.

Although a loss won’t be fatal to Red Star’s semifinal prospects, a win would position them nicely to push for a vital home semifinal.

United all-rounder Jaco Vorster [bowling] is a vital cog in the United set-up.
A win, however, is crucial for United against defending and three-time champions Paraparaumu to avoid dropping off the pace.

Not helping United’s prospects is the likelihood of fielding an understrength side for the clash at Greytown

“We’re a little bit thin this week,” captain Jared van Deventer said.

“We don’t have a lot of depth to start with, and we have a Rathkeale fixture, which has taken a couple of our guys.

“With the T20 club finals as well, we’re probably four or five down as a result of other fixtures going on, and we’ve got a couple of injury concerns as well.”

Medium-pacer Gurdev Singh is battling an ongoing calf injury, and all-rounder Jaco Vorster has a bruised knee suffered in the loss to Red Star.

Vorster, with his aggressive batting and niggly medium-pace bowling, is a vital cog in the United lineup, and his possible absence would be a big blow.

No matter who takes the field, van Deventer said it’s crucial that United play their own game and not worry about the threats that Paraparaumu pose.

“They are a really good side, and they’ve got quite a few Horowhenua-Kapiti rep players.

“But if we go into the game worrying about them, we’re on the back foot from the get-go. We’re just keen on trying to play some good cricket, and hopefully, the result takes clear of itself.”

Van Deventer was licking his lips in anticipation of playing on the Greytown pitch, which Hook rated as the best he had played on in Wairarapa.

“It gets the mouth watering a little bit, and you just hope that this week it’s going to be the same.

“But there’s meant to be a bit of [rainy] weather around though and we’ll see what impact that has on it.

“We hope it’s going to be a good wicket, and we’ve got to apply ourselves and hopefully put something competitive on the board if we bat first, and then let the bowlers do
the work.”

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