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Colin Munro has long been known
as among the most ferocious hitters in
New Zealand domestic cricket.
Yesterday at Eden Park he took a
large step up to vividly demonstrate his
talents on the international stage and
effectively grab himself the
No 3 batting position for March’s
To upstage Martin Guptill in his
current rare form takes some doing.
Munro did it with ease smearing a
14-ball half century to send New
Zealand hurtling to a nine-wicket
win, clinch the T20 series 2-0 and give
himself and his team another serious
jolt of self-belief.
Guptill held the New Zealand T20
record for quickest 50 at 19 balls for
about 20 minutes before Munro rushed
to his 50 in five fewer balls. Only
Indian Yuvraj Singh’s 12-ball effort
against England at Durban in 2007
— six sixes in one Stuart Broad over
helped — is faster.
On 40, New Zealand needed six to
win. Munro was set to fall short of the
half century. Instead he clobbered a
four over cover, then lifted the next ball
— the last of the 10th over — into the
crowd at mid wicket.
The left-hander, who bristles with
aggression at the crease no matter what
form of game he is playing, insists he
knew nothing of the relevant numbers.
“I just wanted to try and be there at
the end,” the 28-year-old Munro said
“It’s a role I’ve been given, especially
when we’re chasing those smaller
targets, so you don’t leave it up to
someone else. I just think it was on
Kane (Williamson) and I to see it
through to the end. ”
Chasing Sri Lanka’s inadequate, but
potentially awkward, 142 for eight,
captain Williamson watched Guptill
roar to his half century, clobbering the
third of his five sixes into the crowd at
Then he looked on as Munro blitzed
seven sixes in 14 balls. Williamson
finished on 32 off a slick 21 balls
but he quipped that while the other
might have looked to be batting in the
highlights “I don’t think I was in those”.
“Honestly it was incredible. I thought
way Angelo (Mathews, 81 not out off
49 balls) was outstanding.
“I ’m not sure what those two (Guptill
and Munro) had for breakfast but it
was unbelievable to watch.
“Guppy’s been doing it all summer
and to see ‘Munners’ was pretty special.
It was world class hitting which we’ ll
only continue to encourage these boys
to keep doing.”
Sri Lanka needed early wickets; when
they did not come, they did not have a
They lost the test series 2-0, the ODIs
3-1 and now the version at which they
were, until yesterday, rated best 2-0.
They have also lost their No 1 ranking
on the strength of yesterday ’s result
— do not laugh, but the West Indies
are now top on points difference and
Australia second. There were several
airport shots from the Sri Lankans, the
bags packed and ready to go.
Mathews saved his best on a poor
tour for a class performer, until the
last. Without his contribution, New
Zealand would have won in about five
Innocuous seems the right word for
Grant Elliott ’s medium pacers, but four
for 22 sounds better than that. They
are easily his best T20 figures and he
benefited from misjudged million dollar
Want to pick a hole? Some of the
ground fielding was a touch sloppy, but
you cannot have everything.
Pieces in the puzzle — Munro at No
3, Ross Taylor as a finisher at No 5 —
look to be falling into place.
Next up it is Pakistan, starting at the
same ground on Friday night.
The Kevin Myers team and
young rider Krishna Mudhoo
continued their striking
association on the West Coast
New Year racing circuit, claiming
the $30,000 Vernon and Vazey
Truck Parts Kumara Gold
Nuggets, on Saturday with
Duffers Creek and the feature
sprint straight after, with Reefton
Cup winner Overtheriver.
Myers has won the Kumara
feature on two previous occasions
with stable runners Titch and
Negotiate, and a calculated
performance once more on
Saturday provided success for the
Duffers Creek had produced
a strong second placing behind
stablemate Overtheriver in the
Reefton Cup on Wednesday,
and Myers says the Nuggets was
always on the agenda.
“The Reefton run was good and
all along I had targets the Kumara
Nuggets for the horse. It was a
good effort, the horse handled the
ground and the young rider got
the result. The 3kg claim definitely
helped, D uffers Creek is a nice
horse but not quite top line — he
will make a good hurdler,” Myers
Duffers Creek was soon in front
and held the led while being
harassed by Redeem throughout
The six-year-old was asked for
an effort turning into the straight
and responded for Krishna
Mudhoo, kicking away over the
“I didn’t really want to lead but
was travelling good,” Mudhoo said.
“The other horse was niggling
at us but my horse kicked really
good in the final bit — I’m very
Duffers Creek had a two-and-
a-quarter length winning margin
over Electronic Motion, which
had raced handy throughout, with
Capo running on from midfield a
head back in third.
If Duffers Creek was impressive
so too was stablemate Overtheriver
in the $15,000 NZ Panels Group
The five-year-old had bypassed
the Kumara Nuggets, with Kevin
Myers opting for the sprint and
his judgment was right on
Overtheriver brought winning
form from Reefton into the race
and on Saturday stripped in fine
fettle for the shorter distance.
Rider Krishna Mudhoo allowed
the Myers representative to bide
its time at the back of the field
but once he let it loose the final
outcome was never in doubt.
“At this stage I am looking at
taking Overtheriver down to
Wingatui for the White Robe,”
“Duffers Creek will more than
likely go to Greymouth next
Monday, January 11, 2016
PICTURE: Paul McBride
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chief executive Greg Purcell presents Whanganui trainer Kevin Myers
with the Vernon and Vazey Truck Parts Kumara Gold Nuggets, at the official presentation on Saturday.
of the New Zealand Herald
For a long time, it felt like Sloane
Stephens was never going to claim
a WTA title.
The American, who won the
ASB Classic on Saturday with an
emphatic 7-5, 6-2 win over Julie
Goerges, was seen as a player who
could not take the final step.
She was well established on the
circuit, had reached as high as
No 11 in the world rankings but
tended to get the wobbles in the
latter stages of a tournament. By
August last year, she had played 84
tournaments without a trophy, the
worst record of any player in the
“At one point it was really
bothering me,” Stephens said.
“ People think I should win and
I’m not winning. I didn’t know
what was wrong — am I doing
something wrong? — but after
a while I was thinking, ‘it’s going
to happen eventually’. I put it out
That was in her first decider, in
Washington last year. Saturday
was her second final and the
victory, ticked off in just over 75
minutes, was an impressive display
considering the events of the
previous 48 hours.
Stephens had faced an uncertain
wait on Friday for her semi-final
due to rain, then had to leave the
court late that night — holding
a 5-2 lead in the first set and all
the momentum against Caroline
Wozniacki, a player she had never
beaten in five previous attempts.
Back on court on Saturday
morning, she completed the job
against the Dane 6-2, 7-6 (3) then
had to prepare for a final a few
“ It was a lot of drama,” Stephens
said. “ You can never prepare for
playing half a set, then a set, then
rain, then another match, so it was
something to just go with and do
Stephens stayed relaxed, even
having a siesta between the two
“ I beat Caro, had a light lunch
then had a little nap,” Stephens
said. “ Then I woke up, warmed up
again and then played the final.”
Saturday ’s match was not a classic
— n othing like the finals of the last
two years — but was still a decent
World No 50 Goerges was the
definite underdog but added
plenty to the contest. The German,
playing in her first final in more
than three years, found her range
early and delighted the capacity
crowd with some precise shots.
In a tight first set, games went
with ser ve until the 11th, when
Stephens converted her fourth
break point opportunity. She held
easily in the next game to take the
set, then seemed to break Goerges’
resolve with a slashing forehand
winner to register another break
early in the next set.
Stephens should have been the
player feeling fatigue, given her
schedule, but at that point the
energy seemed to drain away from
Goerges. She won just one of the
next five games as Stephens upped
the tempo, to become the fourth
American champion here since
“ It feels amazing,” Stephens said.
“I’ve played some really tough
players, and to play this morning
and come back to play the final is
something I’ve never done before,
so I was really pleased with the way
I was able to pull myself together. ”
In keeping with her relaxed style
across the tournament, Stephens
planned a low-key celebration.
“ I’m going to Ravi’s (restaurant).
We have been there six nights in a
row,” laughed Stephens.
“ I’m getting three butter naan
and two mango lassis. I’m so
PICTURE: Getty Images
Sloane Stephens with the ASB Classic trophy on Saturday.
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
All eyes on the Gold Nuggets race at Kumara.
ASB TENNIS CLASSIC
ASB Classic trophy
PICTURE: Getty Images
Black Caps Colin Munro acknowledges the crowd with Kane Williamson
after winning the Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka yesterday at Eden Park.
Myers has golden run
‘Quickest ’ 50 record falls twice in 20 minutes
A week out from the Australian Open
and nine of the women’s top 10 players
in the world are struggling with either
injury or form.
World No 10 Angelique Kerber
is the only member of the top ten to
not withdraw, lose first round, or retire
through the first few weeks of the 2016
The world’s top-four ranked players
Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova,
Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza
have all endured a troubled lead-up
to the Australian Open while world
No 9 Lucie Safarova withdrew from the
tournament last week due to a bacterial
Williams (knee), Halep (Achilles),
Muguruza (foot) and Sharapova
(forearm) have all withdrawn from a
series of tournaments on the eve of the
opening grand slam of the year.
They are not the only ones
Defending champion Petra Kvitova
withdrew from the Sydney Inter-
national after she succumbed to a
stomach bug picked up at the Shenzhen
Open last week, while Agnieszka
Radwanska, who won the title in
China, is recovering from a left leg
Venus Williams, ranked sixth in
the world, lost in the first round in
Auckland last week as did former
world No 1 Ana Ivanovic who slumped
to her second first-round exit in as
many weeks after falling 6-4, 6-2 to
Karolina Pliskova on day one of the
Australian No 1 Sam Stosur is also
battling a wrist problem.
The Australian Open begins on
— New Zealand Herald
Troubled lead-up to
women’s Australian Open
The world’s best darts players will be
returning to Auckland this year.
The Professional Darts Corporation
has confirmed the World Series,
featuring the top eight professionals,
will return to Trusts Arena from June 17
PDC boss Matt Porter says discussions
over a multi-year deal with Auckland are
World Series Auckland
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