About the Match
Otago clinched a win against Knights by 2 runs in the last game, which was reduced to 15 overs after the rains, and garnered 4 points; they will go up against Central Stags, who have 6 points, on 16th December at Napier. Otago had earlier lost the match against Auckland by 22 runs and the recent win could have boosted their morale; they will fight hard to keep the winning momentum going. The Stags on the other hand had won their opening game against Canterbury by 7 runs through DLS method but their recent game was washed away by rain. They too will eagerly contest to move up the ladder with a win here.
They have a strong batting unit with players like George Worker, Will Young, Tom Bruce and Doug Bracewell, who played useful nicks against Canterbury to take the scoreboard to 198 runs. Ben Smith was duck-out in that match but is quite a talented player, who can bounce back here. Middle-order batsmen Ben Wheeler, Dane Cleaver and Josh Clarkson can stabilize the innings whether batting first or during chase.
Doug Bracewell and Ben Wheeler provide the right and left combination in pace attack, and they took 3 wickets between them to topple the Canterbury batsmen; spinner Marty Kain did well to stifle the opposition and help win the match. Others like Seth Rance and Ryan McCone add variety to the attack and can combine their skills well to execute the game plan.
Placed third on the table, the Stags will be eager to play a full game here; with a hard-hitting batting line-up and a well-balanced bowling attack, they can prove to be a tough nut to crack.
Batting first against Knights, the top-order batsmen built a good foundation; Neil Broom posted a well-made 57 while James Neesham contributed with a quick fire 42 off just 16 balls that consisted of 5 sixes. Anaru Kitchen and Michael Bracewell did extremely well to keep the scoreboard ticking and help post 177 on board in 15 overs, which the bowlers defended successfully.
The left and right combination from speedsters Neil Wagner and James Neesham demolished the Knights’ top order; the duo took 4 wickets to stifle the opposition while paceman Warren Barnes contributed with 3 scalps to wrap up a win by 2 runs. The thrilling victory has surely boosted their morale after losing the first game against Auckland by 22 runs when they failed to chase down a stiff target of 199 runs.
Captain Hamish Rutherford is in poor form as he got out both times for a duck; he can bounce back and lead from the front here. Kitchen and Boorder performed well against Auckland and can help build steady partnerships with Broom and others down the order.
The Volts have done well in the recent outing and will like to keep the winning combination; the Stags have good batting strength but when it comes to bowling attack, we feel that the Volts are an experienced side, giving them a higher chance of victory on Friday.