About the Match
Auckland finished 2nd in the league with 24 points and will take on Central Districts, who finished 3rd on the table with 22 points, in the Preliminary Final at Auckland on 17th January. The two teams will fight for a place in the finals of the Super Smash T20 against table-toppers Northern Knights, and will try to dominate each other on Wednesday. When they met each other earlier, Auckland won by 5 wickets and with the home advantage here they could come out all guns blazing. It needs to be seen if the Stags can overcome the challenges to keep their hopes alive.
Chasing 146 runs against Canterbury, Robert O’ Donnell top-scored with 55 off 42 while captain Craig Cachopa scored 41 to help steer the team towards a win by 4 wickets. Mark Chapman and Sean Solia built a good foundation, and along with wicket-keeper batsman Glenn Phillips add stability to the top-order. Earlier, the bowlers did a commendable job to restrict the opposition to 145. Spinner Ronnie Hira claimed 4-26 to stifle the Canterbury top-order while Ben Lister, Sam Curran, Donovan Grobbelaar and Colin de Grandhomme took a wicket each to contain them at 145.
When they met Central Districts in the opening game of the series, Auckland successfully chased down 193 runs thanks to Robert O’Donnell’s unbeaten 54 off 36 and good contributions by Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips and Ben Horne. The speedsters tried to contain the opponents but despite regular wickets by Lockie Ferguson, spinner Tarun Nethula and Sam Curran, the Stags posted a challenging 192 runs.
Auckland has a well-balanced team of batsmen and bowlers, who will leverage the home conditions to dominate the Stags here and repeat the winning performance.
The Stags registered a thumping victory against Wellington by 29 runs recently and have made it to the preliminary finals against Auckland. Batting first in the match, they posted 194 runs and the bowlers successfully defended it thanks to a good show by pacers Blair Tickner and Ben Wheeler, who took 2 wickets each at regular intervals. Jesse Ryder top-scored with 52 off 35 while Tom Bruce showcased his all-rounder skills, contributing with 46 off 20 and taking a wicket later. George Worker opened the innings well with 38 off 26, and is in good form to provide a stable start in the upcoming match too.
When they met Auckland earlier, the batsmen put up a heroic performance, scoring 192 runs thanks to Jesse Ryder’s well-made half-century, good contributions by George Worker, Tom Bruce and Doug Bracewell. However, the bowlers failed to defend the total despite good efforts by Blair Tickner, Ben Wheeler, Adam Milne and Tom Bruce. They have good variety in the bowling attack and could prove to be a formidable force to reckon with here.
The Stags have been on a winning roll, defeating opponents in 3 matches consecutively; they are in top form to avenge their previous loss against Auckland on Wednesday.
Auckland recently suffered defeat against Otago while Central Districts have won three games in a row to make it to the prelim final; while Auckland has the home advantage, we feel that Central Districts are in better form to conquer the hosts and make it to the finals