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Hobart Hurricanes completed a second straight win in the Oppo Champions League T20 courtesy of an 86-run thrashing of New Zealand side Northern Knight in Raipur overnight.
Sydney Thunder fans will be licking their lips as their new signing again top-scored for the BBL|03 runners-up, smashing 62 from 43 balls to help his side amass 3-178 from their 20 overs.
It was a total that was never seriously threatened, as the Knights slumped to 4-19 in the seventh over before being bowled out for a paltry 92.
Earlier, Ben Dunk (12) failed to continue his impressive form from the Hurricanes’ sensational last-start win, however his opening partner Tim Paine picked up the slack in style, crashing 43 from 34 balls to gather early momentum that the Knights bowling attack, led by Black Caps pair Trent Boult and Tim Southee, struggled to halt.
Upon Paine’s dismissal, matters only got worse for the Kiwis, as Blizzard teamed up with Pakistani Shoaib Malik and the pair rattled along at 11 an over as they put on an even 100 through the back half of the Hurricanes’ innings.
Malik was particularly brutal, with his unbeaten 45 from 22 balls setting the tone for the Hobart onslaught, while Blizzard warmed nicely to the task in the final overs, crashing four boundaries from the 19th over before holing out in the pursuit of more quick runs with five balls remaining.
By then, the damage was very much done but given Hobart’s own run chase of 185 only days earlier, a contest still looked on the cards.
Ben Hilfenhaus had other ideas.
After Anton Devcich was spectacularly caught in the gully by Ben Laughlin from the bowling of Joe Mennie in the opening over, Hilfenhaus, recalled to Australia’s Test squad for next month’s VB Tour of the UAE, picked up the key wicket of Kane Williamson in the third over, before bowling Knights captain Daniel Flynn first ball with a classic inswinger to leave the Kiwi side reeling at 3-5.
It was a position from which they never adequately recovered.
Hilfenhaus (3-14) then removed BJ Watling, who won’t want to see a replay of his dismissal after being embarrassingly lbw to a full toss, before Xavier Doherty got in on the action with a couple of impressive wickets of his own.
Veteran Kiwi allrounder and ex-Hurricanes player Scott Styris (37 off 27) did his best to mount some resistance, taking 15 from one Doug Bollinger over, but the left-arm paceman had the last laugh, claiming the final three wickets in four balls to complete a miserable evening for the Knights and a memorable one for the Hurricanes, who now occupy top spot on the Group B ladder.
"It was quite tough out there early, the openers found it quite difficult and I also did as well,” said top-scorer Blizzard.
"I knew if I hung in there like the last game and knowing Shoaib was coming in, I thought we could probably get the game rolling towards the 15th over and really put a decent total on board.
"We had plenty of wickets in the shed and we executed our plan really well.
"Shoaib is a terrific player, he is in great form at the moment and we are very lucky to have him with us performing the way he is.
“Hopefully we can go deep into the tournament and he can pile on some more runs".
Paine’s side will now travel to Mohali to take on Barbados Tridents – Malik’s Caribbean Premier League side – on Sunday night, 8.30pm (AEST).