About the Match
Central Districts suffered defeat against Northern Knights by 5 wickets and currently stand in the 5th place with 8 points; they will go up against Auckland, who is in the 2nd place with 18 points, at New Plymouth on 4th January. Auckland defeated Canterbury by 7 runs recently and they will be eager to continue with their good run; Central Districts, on the other hand, have had a mixed run so far, and having lost against Auckland by 5 wickets, they will try to avenge their loss here. It needs to be seen which team can overcome the challenges and emerge victorious on Thursday.
Batting first against Knights, George Worker posted a well-made 75 off 38 while captain William Young pitched in with 43 runs to take the total to 181. However, the bowlers found it difficult to defend the total, despite a good show by spinner Ajaz Patel, who took 2 wickets and pacers Bevan Small and Ben Wheeler taking a wicket each.
In the earlier match against Knights, they successfully defend 201 runs after a terrific performance by fast-bowler Blair Tickner who claimed 4-24 and a 2-wicket haul by spinner Ajaz Patel. Speedsters Bevan Small, Ben Wheeler, and Ryan McCone dismissed one opponent each and they helped win the match by 49 runs. The batsmen had done a good job as well, with players like Will Young and Josh Clarkson posting half-centuries while openers Jesse Ryder and Ben Smith posted a 60-run partnership. Christian Leopard also pitched in with a quickfire 22 off 7 balls and helped them amass 201 runs.
When they had met Auckland earlier, the Stags had lost the contest by 5 wickets after failing to defend 192; they will try to come out all guns blazing here to turn the table on the opposition this time.
Likely Starting XI: Jesse Ryder - George Worker - Will Young (c) - Ben Wheeler - Ryan McCone - Dane Cleaver (wk) - Ajaz Patel - Bevan Small - Josh Clarkson - Blair Tickner - Christian Leopard
Chasing 193 against Central Districts in the opening game of the season, Auckland batsmen put up an energetic performance with players like Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Robert O’Donnell and Ben Horne doing well with the bat. They gunned down the target with more than an over to spare losing only 5 wickets. Earlier, speedster Lockie Ferguson and spinner Tarun Nethula took 2 wickets apiece but the others gave away too many runs. Sam Curran dismissed one opponent and brings variety to the attack.
Batting first against Canterbury, Mark Chapman put up a brilliant 101 off just 58 deliveries and helped them take the total to 168; Craig Cachopa pitched in with a run-a-ball 27 but others hardly could make a dent on the opponents. Fast-bowler Ben Lister and spinner Tarun Nethula took 2 wickets each while others like Sam Curran, Ronnie Hira, and Sean Solia provided regular breakthroughs to cause the collapse of Canterbury batting line-up, and win the match by a close 7 runs.
They won against Otago too recently, after chasing down a humble target of 148 easily with 2 overs to spare thanks to a good show by captain Cachopa, Sean Solia, Mark Chapman and Robert O’Donnell. Ben Lister was the most successful with a 3-wicket haul and adds depth to the bowling attack.
Likely Starting XI: Ronnie Hira - Tarun Nethula - Ben Horne (wk) - Robert O'Donnell - Mark Chapman - Craig Cachopa (c) - Sam Curran - Michael Barry - Sean Solia - Ben Lister - Teja Nidamanuru
Auckland has the upper hand here as they have won previously against the Stags, and are in good form to repeat the winning show again here. While Central Districts show a lot of promise, we feel that Auckland batting strength is better to take them to another victory on Thursday.