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We are almost half-way through the Super Smash and things are all looking beautifully set at the moment. With a closely fought win over Central Stags, Auckland Aces have finally announced their contention and all sides are still pretty much in the business, as far as qualification for the next round is concerned. The next match of the tournament is to be played between Northern Knights and Otago Volts on 29th December at Molyneux Park, Alexandra. Considering how the two teams in their previous two matches respectively, this is expected to be a cracker of a contest as well.
Northern Districts got back to the winning ways with a superbly crafted win over Auckland Aces in their previous encounter. The win elevated them from the bottom of the points table at that time, but Auckland's win over Otago Volts has pushed Knights back to the bottom. Northern Knights are currently placed at the sixth spot on the points table with six points to their name and a net run rate of -2.25.
Batting first against the Aces, Northern Knights batting unit looked beast of a unit as they scored a towering total of 195. Their bowling then did exceedingly well to contain the Aces, who feature some of the powerful strikers of the ball, not just in New Zealand Cricket, but in World Cricket.
Over the years, we have seen a change in results or point of inflection making a massive difference in a team's fortunes. The same could happen for the Knights as well if they can continue to bat like the way they did against the Aces. If they do, the Volts will certainly have their work cut out.
Tim Seifert, Anton Devcich, Dean Brownlie, Joe Carter, Brett Hampton, Daryl Mitchell, Daniel Flynn, Scott Kuggeleijn, IS Sodhi, Anurag Verma, Brett Randell.
<h2>Otago Volts </h2>
For a pretty long time, Otago Volts were one of the best teams in the tournament. Make no mistake, they still are and are placed at the second spot on the ladder with ten points to their name in four matches. Their net run-rate of 0.917 suggests how dominant they have been in the tournament so far.
The Volts come into this match on the back of a surprising result against the Wellington Firebirds. Chasing a total of 182, Otago Volts looked all set to topple the total for most part of their innings. However, a couple of super spells of death over bowling by the Firebirds' bowlers caught Otago Volts one-run short of the total.
Otago Volts have, without a doubt, been the best side of the tournament. They will be looking to regain that top spot on the ladder they had for considerable amount of time in the tournament. Even though they are coming off a close win in their previous match, the Knights would not want to take them lightly.
Hamish Rutherford, NT Broom, Nick Kelly, Dean Foxcroft, Nathan Smith, Anaru Kitchen, Joshua Finnie, MJ Rippon, Jacob Duffy, Max Chu, Michael Rae.
<h2>Our Prediction </h2>
The two teams are coming off contrasting results in their previous respective matches. While Otago Volts are coming off a loss in the tournament, they have been the better side in the tournament and their position on the points table clearly reflects that. Also, comparing the two sides on paper, the Volts are a better balanced unit and, are, therefore, our pick to win the upcoming match and claim the top spot on the points table.
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