Allrounder Logan van Beek, who played for Netherlands in the 2014 World T20, produced the best performance of a young career to spearhead Canterbury's 304-run victory against Otago in Christchurch. Van Beek scored his maiden first-class hundred to rescue Canterbury's first innings and then took career-best match figures of 8 for 70 - six in the final innings - to bowl out Otago on the fourth day.
Having lost the toss, Canterbury were in deep trouble when 20-year old fast bowler Jack Hunter, playing his second first-class game, dismissed both openers for ducks in the first over of the match. Hunter, who finished with figures of 4 for 47, along with Michael Rae and Sam Wells, cut through the line-up and reduced the hosts to 130 for 8.
Van Beek, the grandson of former West Indies and New Zealand Test cricketer Sammy Guillen, rallied the lower order during an aggressive hundred from No. 9. He made an unbeaten 111 off 125 balls, adding 59 for the ninth wicket and 104 for the tenth, before Canterbury were dismissed for 293.
"It was one of those situations where the team was in trouble, I've been in that situation a lot of times before and I'd get 20, 30 or get [out] early and we'd just fall over," van Beek told stuff.co.nz. "We went five runs at a time and next thing you know I was on 40. When Will came out it was five runs at a time. I threw a bit of caution to the wind and next thing I know I'm on 90.
"I've had a few coaches and players ask why did I take the single the first ball. I thought Will was playing it so well. I was quite relaxed, I thought if it's going to happen it's going to happen," van Beek said of his decision to not farm the strike. "He took this big flay at a short and wide one. My heart just went …. (gasps). He looked at me and kind of winked.
"I've been in the gym preparing my body. I had a goal to be ready for the first game of the season, I ticked that off. All the hard work's paid off."
Otago began the second day on 5 for 0 but the wickets column quickly filled up. Only three batsmen made it past single figures, with No. 8 Nick Beard top scoring with 22, as the visitors were routed for 91 in 36.3 overs. New-ball bowlers Ryan McCone and Will Williams took three wickets apiece, while van Beek had figures of 2 for 13, to give Canterbury a lead of 202.
Their top order did not fail a second time. Openers Leo Carter and Ronnie Hira made half-centuries, and though they fell in quick succession to leave the score 134 for 2, Peter Fulton and Ken McClure built on that platform. At stumps on the second day, Fulton was 97, McClure 47, and Canterbury were 272 for 2. They declared on 350 for 2 on the third day with Fulton unbeaten on 155 off 144 balls, having hit five sixes, and McClure on 66 not out.
Chasing a target of 553, Otago opener Brad Wilson held up one end, but wickets fell at the other. After two half-century stands for the first three wickets, and Sean Eathorne retiring hurt, Otago began to lose batsmen regularly. They slipped from 159 for 2 to 213 for 6 by stumps on the third day, with van Beek picking up three wickets. Losing Wilson for 100 just before stumps was a severe blow to Otago.
Though there was rain on the fourth day, Canterbury needed only 12.4 overs to wrap up the victory. Van Beek took the last three wickets to finish with a career-best innings haul of 6 for 57. Otago were dismissed for 248 in 97.1 overs.