In a bizarre incident in New Zealand's domestic 50-over competition, Auckland batsman Jeet Raval struck an Andrew Ellis delivery so hard that it hit the bowler's head and still crossed the boundary ropes for a six. Ellis, the Canterbury captain, passed a concussion test before completing his over and later on batted at his usual No. 6 position, "showing no obvious ill effects," according to a New Zealand Cricket release.
The incident occurred in the 19th over of Auckland's innings in the third preliminary final of the Ford Trophy. Auckland opted to bat, and when Ellis brought himself on, Raval struck consecutive sixes in his first over. The second of the lofted drives struck Ellis on the front of his head before sailing over the ropes. The umpire initially signalled a four, before revising his decision. Ellis left the field for a concussion test, and went on to bowl six overs after that to end with figures of 7-0-52-2, including Raval's wicket, in Canterbury's 107-run loss.
"Whenever anybody gets hit in the head, your immediate concern is for the person, and I was worried Andrew had hurt himself," Raval said. "But, thankfully, it soon looked like he hadn't been injured by what had seemed a nasty blow. He's a true Cantab, a very tough nut, and it was a relief for me to see him carry on and complete the game without any visible effects. My hope for him is that he won't experience any delayed concussion. It's certainly not pleasant for anyone to experience that in a game."
Auckland's win set up a final clash with Central Districts on Saturday, after Raval scored 149 off 153, studded with 10 fours and four sixes, to lead them to 304 for 6. In reply, Canterbury, the defending champions, were bowled out for 197 in 37.2 overs, as legspinner Tarun Nethula ran through the middle and lower order with 4 for 43. Michael Pollard top-scored for Canterbury with 47, and only one other batsman - Todd Astle - crossed 40.