About the Match
The Knights have 6 points in their kitty after the win against Wellington and will now take on Auckland, who have 8 points from two wins so far and are placed at the top of the table, on 17th December at Hamilton. Knights recently suffered defeat against Otago by a narrow margin of 2 runs and will be eager to fight their way back; Auckland, on the other hand, has been on a winning streak and will put its best foot forward to continue with the winning momentum. It surely will be an evenly fought contest as both sides have a good balance of experience and young talent that will grab this opportunity to showcase their skills and help their team win on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 177 against Otago, Dean Brownlie posted a superb 52 off 26 to give a good start; Watling, Corey Anderson and all-rounder Mitchell Santner tried to keep the scoreboard ticking but with hardly any support from the other batsmen down the line, they fell short by a painful 2 runs. Earlier, the bowlers like Zak Gibson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Santner and Jono Boult took a wicket each but couldn’t stifle the opposition; spinners and pacemen equally gave away too many runs and they ended up facing a stiff target of 177 from 15 overs.
Against Wellington, the batting line-up had done well to build steady partnerships batting first; Nathan Reardon, Corey Anderson and Joe Carter kept the runs flowing to get to a respectable 142. Daryl Mitchell then struck gold with a 4-wicket haul while Ben Laughlin claimed 3-13 to stifle the opponents; Boult and Gibson took a wicket each and helped them win the match by 7 runs.
Batsmen like Brownlie, Watling, Carter, Anderson and Reardon are in good form and can help build a solid foundation whether batting first or during chase; the bowlers can combine their skills to execute the game plan to perfection against Auckland.
Batting all-rounder and spinner Mark Chapman took a brilliant 3-22 against Canterbury, thereby demolishing the opponent’s top-order; Nethula, McClenaghan and Rob Nicol stifled them with their economical spell and they gave away just 133 runs in 20 overs. All-rounder Jeet Raval’s superb 44 off 35 and Glenn Phillips run-a-ball 50 helped them chase down the target with 1 over to spare.
Against Otago, the batsmen put up a tremendous effort, posting a formidable total of 198 batting first; Mark Chapman scored 76 off just 32 balls while Phillips smashed 55 from just 32. Then the bowlers dominated the opposition on the field with spinners Chapman and Nethula taking 3 wickets between them while speedsters Mills and Grobbelaar also took 3 wickets together, to help win the match by a thumping 22 runs.
The players are on a high morale after two consecutive wins and will be determined to keep the lead on the table with another convincing win here.
The Knights have lost their last game and would try to come out with all their firepower to bounce back; Auckland on the other hand are looking pretty solid not having lost a match yet, which makes them clear favourites to emerge victorious on Saturday.