About the Match
Central Districts lead the table with 26 points and are a strong contender for the McDonalds Super Smash T20 title; they will face stiff competition from Auckland, who are close behind at the 2nd spot with 20 points, when the two teams go up against each other in the last league match on 3rd January at Auckland. The hosts who have won their previous game against Otago by 7 wickets, had suffered defeat against the Stags by a humiliating margin of 64 runs. They will be eager to avenge the defeat and make it to the pre finals with a win here whereas Auckland will fight hard to cruise to the finals.
Nicol and Phillips posted an outstanding 71-run opening stand while chasing 176 against Otago recently; while Nicol posted a well-made 51, Phillips top-scored with 62 from just 44 balls and both batsmen can provide strong foundation in the upcoming match too. Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme did well to keep the scoreboard ticking and took the team across the finish line.
Earlier, medium pacers Grobbelaar and Grandhomme took 2 wickets apiece to restrict Otago to 175 while spinner Ben Horne dismissed one opponent. Spinner Tarun Nethula has been consistently taking wickets while speedster T Mills can demolish the opponents. Others like all-rounder Nicol and Mark Chapman bring their variations to the squad and add depth to the attack.
Against Central Districts, Mills and Chapman were effective taking 3 wickets between them but others gave away too many runs leading to a massive target of 214-runs that the batsmen failed to achieve. Solia, Raval and Horne tried to revive the innings but they were all-out for just 149. They have an all-round squad that could try to post a stiff challenge to the Stags this time around.
Having won three games in a row, which included defeating Auckland recently, Central Districts is on a high at present and could give a tough fight to the hosts in the upcoming match too. The batting line-up has stalwarts like Mahela Jayawardene and Ross Taylor, who have been consistently producing the big runs for the team. While Taylor scored an unbeaten 82 from just 41 deliveries against Auckland, Jayawardene posted a quick fire 31 from 19 deliveries to build a good foundation. Players like Dane Cleaver, Will Young, Tom Bruce and all-rounder George Worker add depth to the batting line-up and they have been performing well in setting big totals or chasing one with ease.
Against Auckland, the bowlers led by medium-pacer Blair Tickner’s sensational 5-19 wreaked havoc on the opposition and defended the 213-run total successfully. Others like Seth Rance, Ryan McCone and Luke Feldman add variety to the pace attack and have consistently taken wickets. The spin combination of George Worker and Tom Bruce helps them outwit opponents, and they could come out with all their fire power against the Auckland batsmen here.
Rance claimed 4-27 against Canterbury in the last outing while McCone, Feldman and Tickner provided regular breakthroughs to contain the opponents. They are a well-balanced team with expert batsmen and result-oriented bowlers, who can prove to be a formidable force to reckon with.
Auckland has the home advantage here but having lost the previous encounter against the Stags, will be cautious in strategizing its game plan. While the contest could go down to the wire, we feel that Central Districts with its in-form batting unit is better placed to win on Tuesday