About the Match
Northern Knights defeated Otago by a whopping 106 runs to climb to the top position with 12 points; they will take on Central Districts, who are at No. 5 with 4 points, at Mt. Manganui on 27th December. The Knights have been on a winning momentum, having emerged victorious in 3 consecutive matches recently, and they are determined to keep it going. The Stags, on the other hand, lost to Canterbury in their last match after defeating the same opponent previously; they will be eager to bounce back and garner more points with a win here.
Batting first against Otago, the top-order players like Anton Devcich, Brett Hampton, Daniel Flynn and Daryl Mitchell did well to post 212 runs by scoring 40+ runs each. Pacers Daryl Mitchell and Chris Jordan took 5 wickets between them while spinner Anton Devcich took the maximum wickets by registering 4-12. Ish Sodhi also dismissed one opponent and they restricted the Otago batsmen to 106, winning the contest by 106 runs.
Against Wellington also, the bowlers put up a stupendous show defending 145 runs successfully and going on to win by a 1-run margin in a thrilling finish.
Speedster Brent Arnel and spinner Ish Sodhi took 2 wickets each while others like Daryl Mitchell, Anton Devcich and Scott Kuggeleijn provided quick breakthroughs to keep their team on the winning side.
The Knights are a strong unit with in-form batsmen and bowlers, who can give them the edge to keep their winning momentum going here.
Chasing 174 runs against Canterbury, the Central Districts batting line-up succumbed under pressure with players like Tom Bruce and Ben Smith failing to make a dent on the opposition. Dane Cleaver top-scored with 30 runs while others like Will Young, Christian Leopard and Bevan Small kept the scoreboard ticking; however, in the end they lost the match by 17 runs. Earlier, pacers like Blair Tickner, Bevan Small and Ryan McCone took 4 wickets between them while spinner Tom Bruce dismissed one opponent to restrict Canterbury to 174; they are in good form to stifle the Knights here.
Jesse Ryder and Will Young scripted their win against Canterbury in a previous match as the batsmen scored 84 off 40 and 53 off 31 to take the total to 213 batting first. Josh Clarkson also contributed with 28 runs off 15 balls, and brings depth to the line-up along with others like Ben Wheeler and Cleaver. Pacers Blair Tickner and Seth Rance took 2 wickets each while Ben Wheeler and Bevan Small contributed with one wicket each to defend the total and win the match by a close 8 runs.
The Stags have had a mixed run so far, and will be motivated to improve their standing with a much-needed victory on Wednesday.
The two teams are facing each other for the first time this season and both will try to pull out some tricks from their sleeves to outwit the other. While Central Districts have experienced players, we feel that the Knights with their power-packed batting unit are better placed to win.