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Burger King Super Smash is past its halfway stage and continues to march ahead with a few important fixtures coming up in the coming week. The first of which will be played between Northern Knights and Canterbury Kings at Hamilton on 16th of this month. The two sides will be in it for one common aim but different reasons. A win will almost ascertain a spot for the Knights in the semi-final whereas for Canterbury Kings, registering a win is imperative to continue to hang in the competition. It turned out to be a nail-biting encounter when these two teams met five days earlier in which Knights toppled Kings by two wickets. Regardless of how disparate the forms of two sides have been, we expect a thrilling contest this time around as well.
The Knights are coming after a considerably long break of four days which they wouldn't really have wanted considering the pace they were closing games at. After losing to Central Stags in their second match of the competition, they've won every game they've played and are at the top of the points table with 20 points in six matches.
Their last encounter was against Wellington Firebirds on 12th January where they comfortably emerged victorious by 12 runs. Electing to bat after winning the toss, the Knights got off to a nightmarish start losing Joe Carter for naught on the second delivery of second over. Nicholas Kelly and Daryl Mitchel then put together a brilliant 48-run partnership before they lost Kelly, Hampton, and Anderson in a bunch. They were soon reduced to 73 for 4, but a small but useful cameo from skipper Flynn helped them post a competitive total which proved plenty in the end.
The Kiwi test match specialist, Neil Wagner, had a long day as he conceded 33 off his three overs without any success. However, his new-ball partner, Kyle Abbot, was brilliant up front and played an instrumental role in restricting the Firebirds. Kyle Abbott, Corey Anderson, and Daryl Mitchell all picked up a couple of wickets each as Wellington Firebirds finished 12 runs short of the total they needed to win.
Nick Kelly, Tim Seifert, Daryl Mitchell, Dean Brownlie, Brett Hampton, Corey Anderson, Daniel Flynn, Mitchell Santner, KY Abbott, IS Sodhi, Scott Kuggeleijn.
Canterbury's tale in the tournament has been exactly opposite to that of Northern Knights. After winning against Auckland Aces, which was their second match in the tournament, the Kings have failed to put anything further in the points column of the table. They are languishing at the bottom of the table with four points and need to win all of their upcoming matches to have any chance whatsoever of progressing to the next round.
In their previous match, against Central Stags, their batting failed miserably and folded for a paltry total of 112. What was more surprising is that their batting had done pretty well in their previous match, against Knights, wherein the bowlers failed to defend a total of 193.
Their batsmen never got going against Central District's bowlers and were reduced 41 for 6 inside the first half of their innings. The major contribution came from the trio of Leo Carter, Todd Astle, and Kyle Jamieson who came in at seven, eight, and nine respectively and contributed 76 out of a total of 112 runs.
Defending such a low total is always difficult to defend and although Kyle Jamieson, Todd Astle, and Andrew Ellis bowled hard and picked four wickets between them, their total proved too little to defend as Stags overhauled it with a little more than three overs to spare. Jamieson, who has been terrific in the tournament thus far, was the pick of their bowlers and returned with the impressive figures of 4-0-21-1.
TWM Latham, Chad Bowes, Henry Nicholls, Cole McConchie, Andrew Ellis, Cameron Fletcher, Leo Carter, TD Astle, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Ed Nuttall.
Clearly, if we were to go by the points table, picking the winner will be a walk in the part. However, the past performances do not always indicate the future results. The last encounter between the two sides, in which Knights just managed to finish ahead, was one such example. The Knights, who are in rampaging mood at the moment, are better-balanced and more confident unit as compared to the Kings. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the Knights are firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture as well.
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