About the Match
Both Otago and Central Districts lost against Northern Knights recently and they will be eager to bounce back with a win when they meet each other at New Plymouth on 6th January. While Otago failed to defend 156 runs, the Stags lost the match as they couldn’t defend 181 runs against the Knights; they are meeting each other for the first time this season and could put up a tough fight. Central Districts have 10 points and stand in the 5th position whereas Otago has only 2 points and is at the bottom of the table.
George Worker scored 75 off 38 batting first against the Knights while captain Will Young contributed with 43 runs. Players like Jesse Ryder, Josh Clarkson, Christian Leopard and others down the line failed to build strong partnerships and they could get to 181 runs at the loss of 8 wickets. Spinners Ajaz Patel and all-rounder George Worker took 3 wickets between them while other pacers Bevan Small and Ben Wheeler took a wicket each, but they lost the match by 5 wickets in the end.
Previously against Knights, they had won the contest by 49 runs after posting a challenging total of 201 batting first. Josh Clarkson top-scored with 52 off 25 while Will Young scored a well-made 50; Ben Smith and Jesse Ryder posted a 60-run opening stand and they could build a target of 202 runs for the Knights. The bowlers then came out with all their firepower with speedster Blair Tickner taking 4-24 while spinner Ajaz Patel provided 2 wickets. Bevan Small, Ben Wheeler and Ryan McCone took a wicket each to help win the match by a whopping 49 runs.
The Stags have had a mixed run so far and they will try to improve their standing on the table with a win here; it needs to be seen if the batting line-up can do well against the Otago attack.
Batting first against Knights, the Otago batsmen could muster only 156 runs despite a well-made 46 by Josh Finnie and good contributions by Rob Nicol and Shawn Hicks, who scored 20+ run each. However, others like Neil Broom, Llew Johnson and Derek de Boorder failed to impress with the bat, and the bowlers then couldn’t defend the total as pacer Jacob Duffy was the lone wicket-taker, dismissing only one opponent in the second innings. The bowling squad has speedsters like Warren Barnes, Rob Nicol, Matthew Bacon and Shawn Hicks while spinner Michael Rippon brings variety to the attack.
Against Wellington, they put up a humble total of 159 runs batting first and once again the bowling unit proved to be too expensive, losing the match by 7 wickets. Pacers Neil Wagner, Warren Barnes and captain Rob Nicol took a wicket apiece but others like Jacob Duffy and Ben Lockrose gave away too many runs. Shawn Hicks had earlier posted a superb half-century while Rob Nicol and Josh Finnie pitched in with 36 and 22 runs respectively.
Otago hasn’t done too well till now either with bat or ball, and they need to pull up their socks before its too late.
The Stags have an in-form batting and bowling unit, which gives them the edge to dominate the Otago team here; the contest could be well fought by both sides, but we feel that Central Districts could win