About the Match
With the first preliminary final between Auckland and Otago washed out, Otago sailed through to the finals being table-toppers; they will meet the winners of the 2nd Preliminary Final match between Canterbury and Auckland, which will take place on 12th December at New Plymouth. While Auckland had finished in the 2nd position with 24 points, Canterbury came in third with 22 points on the table; both teams have won one game each when they met during the league stage and this upcoming contest will surely be a fierce battle that will keep the fans on the edge of their seats throughout.
When they met Auckland last time, Andrew Ellis had taken 4 wickets giving away only 17 runs that helped restrict the opposition to 133 runs; Peter Fulton’s unbeaten 76 off 43 along with a smashing 38 by Cam Fletcher was enough to take them across the finish line and win the match by 6 wickets with over 5 overs to spare.
However, previously Canterbury has suffered defeat against the same opponent after the match went into the one-over eliminator; despite a brave innings by Aiden Blizzard who scored a well-made 57, they could just manage 170 runs as other batsmen failed to step up and score the big runs. Their bowling was non-impressive as players like Logan van Beek, Astle, Ellis and others gave away too many runs.
They have a strong batting line-up with experienced players like Michael Hussey, Shane Watson and Peter Fulton; in the bowling department Logan van Beek showed his mettle in the last game against Central Districts as he took 3-21. Ellis, Hira, Astle and others provide depth to the attack and they must focus on putting up a disciplined effort in order to win the upcoming match against Auckland.
Choosing to bat first against Wellington, they could muster only 109 runs after the top order failed to build strong partnerships; the bowlers found it tough to defend the low target despite a spirited effort by Nethula, Ferguson and McClenaghan.
When they had defeated Canterbury during the league stage, batsmen Nicol and Grandhomme had posted half centuries to take the total to 170 runs; when the match went into the one-over eliminator, Michael Bates rose to the occasion and took 2 wickets, giving away just 5 runs to seal victory for the team. Earlier, McClenaghan, Nicol and Nethula had taken 7 wickets between them to restrict the opponent to 170 runs; along with Quinn and Grobbelaar, the bowling unit definitely has variety and surprise components that will give them the edge here.
JeetRaval and Cachopa may open the innings as usual but they must stay determined to build a good foundation if batting first; Munro, Nicol and others down the order must keep the scoreboard ticking so as to give the bowlers sufficient to fight for.
Although Auckland has finished the league with a better ranking, they come here at the back of a loss that could be cause for worry here; we feel Canterbury with its solid batting line-up and consistent bowlers, has a better chance to win this match