About the Match
Clinching a thriller against Central Districts by 1 run, Otago gave its campaign a major boost and will now be eager to continue with its winning momentum when they meet Canterbury at Christchurch on 23rd December. Otago has won two consecutive games and is in good form to improve its standings on the table; presently, they occupy the third place with 12 points whereas Canterbury, who lost the previous game against Auckland, are placed fourth with 8 points. Both sides could put up a fierce fight and it needs to be seen which team can overcome the nerves to get ahead here.
Chasing 181, Hamish Marshall and Michael Papps did well to build a good foundation; while Marshall scored 52 off 37, Papps posted 27 off 21. Michael Pollard and Luke Woodcock tried to revive the innings after the dismissals of Luke Ronchi and Murdoch but they fell short by 9 runs. Earlier, spinners Woodcock and Jeetan Patel took a wicket each while all-rounder batsman Grant Elliott provided two breakthroughs with his medium pace but the others proved to be expensive.
Against Canterbury too the bowlers couldn’t put up a disciplined show and gave away too many runs despite Brent Arnel and Elliott taking 2 wickets apiece. The batsmen faltered again during chase for 200 and although Marshall, Murdoch and Elliott did well to score 59, 38 and 39 runs respectively, they lost the match by 9 runs after coming so close to the target.
They haven’t won a game yet and this is a crucial match if they want to keep their hopes alive; they have sturdy batsmen like Marshall, Elliott, Stephen Murdoch and Ronchi, who can try to build steady partnerships. The bowlers can put up a better show and try to outwit Auckland here.
Hamish Rutherford is in tremendous form with the bat and his scintillating 106 off just 50 deliveries helped them post a gigantic 249 against Central Districts recently. Anaru Kitchen and Neil Broom also supported well with 54 and 42 runs respectively but the bowlers gave away too many runs, sending nervous jitters around the camp as the opponents closed in on the target. However, James Neesham’s 2-37 helped them stifle Central Districts and achieve a nail-biting win with a 1-run margin.
Against Knights, speedster Neil Wagner was stupendous as he took 3-22; a superb show by spinner Kitchen and fast-bowler Warren Barnes helped them restrict the opposition to 157, which the batsmen achieved comfortably to win the match by 8 wickets. They have a good combination of pace and spin, which could work effectively against the inconsistent Canterbury batsmen.
The batting line-up is solid with players like Rutherford, Kitchen, Bracewell and Neil Broom; they have proven to be a formidable force to reckon with against some strong sides and can repeat the match-winning performance again.
Canterbury comes here at the back of a loss and will be eager to make a comeback here; however, we feel that Otago’s batsmen are presently in a better form to take up the challenge and emerge victorious on Friday.