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We are almost into the final leg of Burger King Super Smash with all teams having played seven matches each and things are beginning to take shape beautifully. Northern Knights are sitting comfortably at the top with 24 points and their qualification for the next round is nothing but certain. The next best team in the competition are Central Districts who have 18 points to their name courtesy of four wins. They are set to meet Northern Nights in the upcoming encounter on 25th January at Napier.
The Stags are coming off a high-scoring high-voltage encounter against Canterbury Kings wherein they registered an 18-run win. With 18 points in seven games, the Kings are well-placed at the ladder just need one win to ascertain their qualification.
Batting first against the Kings, they got off to an extremely poor start ad George Worker was dismissed on only the third delivery of the match. Their batsmen thereafter played such counter-attacking cricket that Canterbury's bowlers were left clueless. Will Young carried his bat through with a well-made 89 of 50 deliveries and Tim Bruce made the difference between 200 and 220 with his 30-ball 71. Foxtrot chipped in with useful contribution as well.
While defending a total in excess of 200, the bowlers always have a cushion of runs behind them and can be aggressive in their approach. It was the same with their bowlers, but the aggressive bowling didn't really result in wickets. Tom Latham scored a terrific hundred for the Kings, but good death bowling by Bracewell and Tickner towards the back-end of the innings denied Kings a win. Central Districts eventually won the match by 18 runs.
George Worker, Will Young, Dean Foxcroft, Tom Bruce, Josh Clarkson, KN Barnett, Willem Ludick, Ben Wheeler, Ryan McCone, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner.
Northern Knights have had a fabulous campaign in the tournament thus far and the statistics in the points table clearly reflect that. They've already secured a berth in the semifinals by the virtue of six wins in seven games. Their only loss has come against Central Stags which should make things interesting in their next match.
They last played a match more than a week ago and players should be fresh coming into the next match. Batting first against Canterbury Kings in that game, Northern Knights suffered from a terrible start losing three wickets in under five overs. Kelly and Anderson then steadied the ship before launching Kings' bowlers into Hamilton's sky. Quickly things got back on track for the Knights, but rain intervened and Canterbury were left with 153 to chase in 16 overs.
Mitchel Santner was brilliant up front and got rid of dangerman Tom Latham on the first delivery of the match. Bowes and Nicholls tried to impose themselves on Knights, but accurate bowling from Ish Sodhi and Corey Anderson in the middle overs resulted in regular wickets and eventually, the Kings fell seven runs short of Knights' total.
Nick Kelly, Tim Seifert, Dean Brownlie, Daryl Mitchell, Brett Hampton, Corey Anderson, Daniel Flynn, Scott Kuggeleijn, KY Abbott, N Wagner, Tarun Nethula.
The top of the table clashes always have something about them regardless of the tournament. More often than not, these are high-voltage encounter due to the sheer momentum the teams have with them coming into the game. It's same this time around as well with both Central Stags and Northen Knights having wins behind their back. We might not see some of the main players owing to the international duty in India's tour of New Zealand, but it's certainly expected to be a high-voltage encounter nonetheless. Both the sides have had an ample amount of rest and should be fresh coming into the next match. Northern Knights have done exceedingly well in the tournament and will be itching to avenge their last encounter's defeat. With a deep batting lineup and a varied bowling attack, we think that Knights will emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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