VICTORIAN PREMIER CRICKET – ROUND 8 REVIEW (Twenty20)
LETTING the foot off the accelerator almost cost Dandenong (8/110) against St Kilda (7/109).
Well ahead for the vast majority of the game, Dandenong in the end struggled to reach the target and only got there by the skillful lower-order work of David Alleyne (31no).
While he might have a few grays poking through his beard, Alleyne showed he hasn’t lost any touch over the journey as he rescued Dandenong’s batting.
What should’ve been a tiny total was allowed to balloon out as Dandenong failed to fire after devastating first-up spells from Justin Butterfield (3/13) and James Wilcock (3/23). The quick tandem eliminated the first five St Kilda bats for just 23 within the first five overs, leaving only the lower order to pierce.
But St Kilda returned fire as Alex Bychkov (40no) played a gallant innings – defending the good balls and rotating the singles alongside James Muirhead (21). With the tail-end wagging, St Kilda managed to hit a few boundaries at the death to post a 110 run-chase for the Panthers.
It looked easy at first – a meagre tally on a small ground – with usual suspects Tom Donnell (19) and Brett Forsyth (12) hitting the St Kilda spearheads to all points on the compass. But the rot set in fast – with the Panthers falling from the heavens in succession from 0/30 to 7/62 in the blink of an eye.
Some retaliation from Brenton Murphy (16) stemmed the bleeding before Alleyne – featuring in his 150th Premier first XI match – entered the field.
Working the singles with Peter Sweeney (9), Alleyne saw off St Kilda’s troublesome spinners Michael Beer (1/18), Josh Drummond (2/5) and Muirhead (2/17) before cashing in against the quicks for the final few overs.
Alleyne belted Jak Jowett (2/16) for 10 off the second last over – with two amazing cuts racing to the boundary – to leave 10 needed off the last.
Ensuring the last over tally wouldn’t get out of hand Alleyne flat batted Blade Baxter over the rope before hitting three off the second ball, leaving to need two more from three deliveries.
James Wilcock (3no) nudged the winning runs, but the raucous applause went to the former Nottinghamshire and Middlesex keeper-batsman.
“We had a bit of work to do – about 60 off 40 balls – and that was the equation I was thinking about,” Alleyne said. “If we hit four or five boundaries in that and looked at a run a ball and we’d be there or there abouts and it just so happened that it worked out that way.
“We’ve played some really good cricket, certainly over this year – it’s always nice to be part of a win and hopefully there’s some more runs to come and more wins to come.”
The Panthers face Footscray-Edgewater in the Twenty20 double-header round on Sunday.
In next weekend’s twin-fixture, Dandenong is home on Saturday to Geelong and away against Melbourne on Sunday.
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