About the Match
The Knights and Auckland meet again for a reverse match, this time at Mt. Maunganui on 27th December. While Auckland has lost its last two games, both against Wellington during a chase, the Knights made a comeback with a 10-run victory over Central Districts recently after being on a losing streak. Despite the two recent defeats, Auckland continues to lead the table with 16 points while the Knights are down at No. 5 with only 10 points. The last time they met, Auckland had won the match convincingly; it needs to be seen if they can repeat it again here and make a comeback with a win.
The openers BJ Watling and Dean Brownlie put up a strong partnership batting first against the Stags on Friday; they both scored 30+ runs each and with help from all-rounders Corey Anderson, Mitchell Santner and Scott Kuggeleijn, they steered the innings to a competitive 197. Santner has been in tremendous form with bat and ball, as he scored 45 off just 21 balls and also took a wicket at an economy of 4 per over. Speedsters Tim Southee, Daryl Mitchell and Kuggeleijn provided regular wickets while spinners Ish Sodhi and Santner stifle the opponents to help win the match.
Against Otago however, Tim Seifert’s 41 off 31 and the superb efforts by Anderson, Santner and Daryl Mitchell weren’t enough to post a challenging total. The bowlers failed to defend 157 after a dismal show by speedsters and spinners alike. Pacemen Trent Boult and Kuggeleijn took a wicket each but they couldn’t stop the Otago batsmen from hitting the winning runs.
The Knights returned to their winning form after three consecutive losses and they will be determined to keep the momentum going in order to climb up the table.
To lose against the same opponent twice could have demoralized the players but they have strong resources with bat and ball to make a comeback here, especially with the psychological advantage of having defeated the Knights before. In both matches against Wellington, the batting line-up crumbled under pressure chasing tough targets; while Rob Nicol, Mark Chapman and Jeet Raval put up a tough fight in the recent game, they fell short by 2 runs.
While chasing 174 runs, Colin Munro, Chapman and Grobbelaar tried to keep the scoreboard ticking but with hardly any support from others in the middle order, they lost the match by 33 runs. In the last encounter with the Knights, the batsmen had put up a tremendous show posting 186 on board while batting first, which the bowlers defended successfully thanks to spinner Nethula’s 2-20 and speedster McClenaghan’s 2-32.
Paceman Mills has been consistently putting up economical spells and can stifle the opponents here while Rob Nicol, Lockie Ferguson and Chapman provide variety to the attack. Overall, they are a strong side with in-form batsmen and bowlers, who can yet again dominate the Knights on Tuesday.
The Knights have received a morale boot with their recent win but will have to work hard to outwit Auckland here, having lost the previous contest against them. Auckland, on the other hand, will be determined to make a comeback after two straight losses and look better motivated to do so