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|Henry Burton Shipley||4.0||0||37||0||9.25|
|Henry Burton Shipley||10||6||1||0||166.67|
It's all happening in Super Smash. Friday featured two of the most unexpected upsets in the tournament with Canterbury Kings defeating Wellington Firebirds and Auckland Aces losing to Northern Knights in a hard-fought match. With 24 and 22 points to their name respectively, Wellington Firebirds and Otago Volts are sure to progress to the next round. The upcoming match between Northern Knights and Canterbury Kings should clear up the situation as far as qualification scenarios are concerned. The match between the two sides is to be played on Sunday, 12th December, at Bay Oval, Mount Maungunai.
Northern Knights defeated Auckland Aces in their previous match and consequently, they still hang in the competition. A win in their next match will take them to 18 points, at par with the Central Districts, but behind them on the net run-rate. They would then need Canterbury Kings and Auckland Aces both to lose their remaining matches. While qualification to the next round is a tough ask for the Knights, it is mathematically possible, and that is what is going to drive them in their last match of the league stage.
Considering that Knights have had a dismal tournament so far, it was surprising to see them defeat Auckland Aces with an over to spare. Their bowlers did an excellent job of keeping the Aces' high-profile batting unit to a total of just 170.
It wasn't an easy chase for them as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The likes of Anton Devcich, Daniel Flynn, and Scott Kuggleijn kept them in the hunt through their cameos as the got to the target with an over to spare. Anton Devcich was the pick of their batsmen as he smashed 51 off 23 deliveries.
Tim Seifert, Anton Devcich, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Flynn, Brett Hampton, Daryl Mitchell, Peter Bocock, Scott Kuggeleijn, IS Sodhi, Anurag Verma, Brett Randell.
Out of all the teams that have not qualified for the playoffs yet, Canterbury Kings seem to have the biggest chance to qualify. They are placed at the fifth spot, with 14 points to their name, and still have two matches to go. A win in both their matches should be enough to push them through to the playoffs whereas one loss and one win will keep them hanging in the tournament, albeit by a thin thread.
They are coming off a close win over Wellington Firebirds, the best team in the tournament, and will be brimming with confidence. Batting first on a tricky surface, Canterbury Kings managed to put a total of only 148 runs on the board, the total which was certainly below par by all standards. Jack Boyle played a vital role to take them to that total with his 38-ball 46.
While their batting took them to a respectable score, it was their bowling that won them the match. Defending a total of 148 was always going to be a colossal task against Wellington's batting lineup, but the Kings' bowlers ensured that they were always in the game. Will Williams picked up five wicket for 12 runs to rock the Firebirds and Henry Shipley assisted him beautifully with a well-crafted spell.
Chad Bowes, Jack Boyle, Stephen Murdoch, Cole McConchie, Leo Carter, Cameron Fletcher, Andrew Ellis, Henry Burton Shipley, TD Astle, Will Williams, Ed Nuttall.
With qualification for the next round at stake, both the sides are expected to come out all guns blazing in this match. The pressure on both the sides would be immense. Both the sides haven't had kind of the tournament they wanted, but can still make amends and end the tournament on a high. Canterbury Kings are in a better position to do so, largely because of their well-balanced team, and a better show in the tournament so far. Considering that, we think that the Kings are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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