About the Match
The Knights have suffered three losses in a row and desperately need a win now; they will look to get back into the race when they meet 2nd place holders Central Districts on 23rd December at Hamilton. The Stags have 14 points in their kitty and lost their previous game to Otago by a heart-wrenching 1 run; they will be determined to go back to their winning ways here. Knights on the other hand have only 6 points from their lone win against Wellington at the beginning of the series and need to make a comeback before it’s too late.
The batting line-up has experienced players like BJ Watling, Dean Brownlie and Daryl Mitchell who can try to build a good foundation whether batting first or chasing a target. Youngsters like Tim Seifert and Joe Carter add depth to the squad while all-rounders like Corey Anderson, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi can use their skills to help the team win matches with bat and ball.
Against Otago, the batsmen tried hard to score the big runs but they could muster only 157 despite a superb 41 off 31 by Seifert and a well-made 39 by Anderson. Santner and Mitchell contributed well but others like Watling and Brownlie failed to impress. Against Auckland, they faced a stiff target of 187 but once again the top-order failed to come out all guns blazing and lost the match by 38 runs.
The bowling unit has expert speedsters like Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who can demolish the opposition single-handed but they haven’t been able to bring out all their firepower till now. Spinners Ish Sodhi and Jono Boult took 3 wickets between them against Auckland but Santner proved to be expensive. Scott Kuggeleijn and Daryl Mitchel add depth to the attack, and they can combine well with the seniors to try and challenge the Stags on Friday.
Chasing 250 against Otago proved to be an uphill climb and despite a brilliant 116 off just 56 balls by the experienced Jayawardene, they lost the plot by 1 run. George Worker and Tom Bruce played useful knocks as they scored 35 and 61 runs respectively, with the latter remaining unbeaten and using just 29 balls to deliver the goods; but they couldn’t cross the finish line. Earlier, bowlers like Ryan McCone, Seth Rance, George Worker and Marty Kain gave away too many easy runs and couldn’t stifle the opposition; they could put up a better fight against the struggling Knights.
Previously against Wellington, Bruce had stood firmly to post 74 off 41 while Will Young, Josh Clarkson and ben Wheeler contributed well to take the total to 181. Spinner all-rounder George Worker dismissed senior players like Marshall and Elliott while others kept the pressure on the opponents with regular wickets to win the match by 9 runs.
They are a strong batting unit with old war horses like Mahela Jayawardene and in-form youngsters like Tom Bruce, Josh Clarkson and Dane Cleaver to name a few. The bowlers can be ruthless in stifling the opposition and they could bring out all their firepower here against Knights.
Though the Knights could fight hard to make a comeback, we feel that Central Districts with their fierce batting form have an edge to win the match provided the rains don’t play spoilsport.