About the Match
Central Districts defeated Auckland in the Preliminary Final of the Super Smash T20 by 36 runs to make it to the finals of the league to be played against Northern Knights at Hamilton on 20th January. Northern Knights directly qualified for the finals after topping the table with 4 consecutive wins and 30 points in their bag; they have done well throughout the series and will post a stiff challenge to stop the Stags from snatching victory here. When these two teams met earlier during the league, each of them won the contest once and are equally matched here to lift the trophy. It’s surely going to be an interesting final and we could see some fireworks across Seddon Park on Saturday.
They chased down 191 runs against Canterbury after a powerful 86 off 50 by captain Dean Brownlie; middle-order players NF Kelly and Chris Jordan helped take the scoreboard ahead and win the match by 4 wickets. Earlier, spinners Ish Sodhi and Anton Devcich took 3 wickets between them while pacers Scott Kuggeleijn and Chris Jordan dismissed one opponent each to restrict the Canterbury team to 190.
When they met Central Districts last time around, they successfully chased down 182 with 2 overs to spare; Tim Seifert opened the innings with a well-made 47 while Dean Brownlie, Daryl Mitchell, Brett Hampton and Anton Devcich helped wrap up a win by 5 wickets. The bowlers did a commendable job with spinner Anton Devcich claiming 3-21 while others like NF Kelly, Daryl Mitchell and Brett Randell took a wicket each.
The Knights are a well-balanced team consisting of experienced batsmen and bowlers, who could yet again help the team dominate the Stags to lift the trophy.
Batting first against Auckland, Central Districts posted 163 runs thanks to a well-made 54 by Dane Cleaver and good contributions by Will Young, Tom Bruce and Ben Wheeler. Spinner Ajaz Patel helped defend the total by claiming 3-26 while speedster Blair Tickner was the most economical of the lot with figures of 2-14. Pacers Seth Rance, Bevan Small and Ben Wheeler dismissed 5 wickets between them and they won the match by a whopping 36 runs.
When they met Northern Knights during the league, they won the contest by 49 runs after successfully defending 201 runs. Pacer Blair Ticker registered 4-24 to stifle the Knights while spinner Ajaz Patel took 2 wickets; Bevan Small, Ben Wheeler and Ryan McCone dismissed one opponent each to help win the match by a big margin. Earlier, Will Young and Josh Clarkson made superb half centuries while Ben Smith and Jesse Ryder started the innings on a positive note with 32 and 29 runs respectively. Christian Leopard and Dane Cleaver add stability to the batting line-up, and can repeat the winning performance.
Overall, the Stags are a strong unit that has overcome challenges throughout the league to make it to the finals; they could cause upset to the high-flying Knights here.
Both Central Districts and Northern Knights have plenty of match-winners who could help their teams dominate on the field; while the contest could be well fought, we feel that Northern Knights who are on a winning roll are better placed to win the finals