About the Match
The Central Stags defeated Canterbury by 7 runs in the round-robin stage of the McD Super Smash T20 league and will take on Northern Knights, who won against Wellington by 7 runs, on 10th December at New Plymouth. Both teams had failed to make it to the playoffs last season and they would have the extra motivation to turn things around this year; while the Stags have won the coveted prize twice before, the Knights have emerged as winners once and would like to taste success again. Although it’s just the start of the tournament, both teams will fight hard to give their campaign a winning start on Saturday.
Batting first against Canterbury, the batsmen put up a tremendous show to post 198 runs; Tom Bruce, Doug Bracewell, Will Young and George Worker kept the scoreboard ticking and the bowlers then took the team to victory after the target was reduced to 85 from 8.5 overs for the opposition. Fast-bowler Doug Bracewell took a wicket with his economical spell while speedster Ben Wheeler provided two quick breakthroughs and helped restrict Canterbury to 77 runs.
They have a strong in-form batting unit with players like Worker, Young, Bruce, Cleaver and Bracewell, who can build good partnerships and get the big runs. The bowling squad consists of spinners Martin Kain, pacemen McCone, Wheeler, Rance and Bracewell, who could try to upset the Knights with consistent wickets.
They have got off to a good start with a win in the round-robin match and would like to keep their winning momentum going here; while weather played a helping hand in their recent victory, the batting performance was superb and they could come out attacking again.
An extraordinary show by the bowlers took them to a thrilling victory against Wellington by 7 runs after they successfully defended a modest total of 142. Medium pacer Daryl Mitchell registered a superb 4-35 in 4 overs to demolish the Wellington top-order while Ben Laughlin continued on his good form, taking 3-13 and stifling the opposition from getting the big runs.
Gibson and spinners like Ish Sodhi and Jono Boult bring their skills to the table and can combine well with the fast-bowlers to outwit the Stags on Saturday. Joe Carter, Corey Anderson and Nathan Reardon scored 30+ runs each batting first but others down the order fell like a pack of cards. They will need to pull up their socks and give their bowlers more to fight with if put to bat first.
They have experienced players like Bracewell, Mitchell, Laughlin, Sodhi and Corey Anderson, who can guide the others to perform well under crunch situations. After the morale boosting victory, they surely look well prepared to give a tough fight to the Central Stags.
Both the teams have tasted success recently and would do everything it takes to dominate the other here; while the Stags have better batting power, the Knights definitely can pack a punch when it comes to the ball. The contest might go down to the wire but we feel that the Knights who overcame challenges with a positive attitude to win a full game recently are clear favourites to win.