About the Match
The Central Stags will play the Northern Knights in the return fixture after both teams locked horns at the Bay Oval in Maunganui just a couple of days back. Both the teams are in a very similar position at the table as the Northern Knights have three wins from five matches and the Central Stags have two wins from four. A tight five-way fight is developing to reach the knockouts and this match could be very crucial for the future of both teams in this competition.
Central Districts Stags
The Central Stags won the last match against the Northern Knights quite comfortably on the back of an excellent batting performance. Jesse Ryder played aggressively to score 32 before getting out. He now has 170 runs in just three innings and has looked a class apart from everyone else.
If the Central Stags can get Jesse Ryder on the park fit for every game then he will be a force to be reckoned with in this tournament.
Will Young and Josh Clarkson also played important innings to highlight the batting strength that the Stags possess. George Worker may also be available for this match now that the ODI series against the West Indies is also over.
If that is indeed the case then the already string batting lineup of the Central Stags becomes even more impressive. The standout bowler for the Stags has been Blair Tickner who has taken 10 wickets in the competition up until now.
Considering that no one else in the team has taken more than three wickets, Tickner’s form is shaping the Stags bowling attack at the moment. The bowling lineup is also being well served by Wheeler and Patel making this Stags team a pretty well-rounded one.
We think there is solid momentum behind the Central Districts Stags at the moment and they are a team that the others will want to avoid coming across.
Northern Districts Knights
The Northern Knights have done well in the tournament so far, however, we think they have been quite fortunate in some of their victories. Siefer played an absolutely brilliant knock of 107 to raise hopes around the team’s batting but that is the only score above fifty hit by any of their batsmen in this competition. Ish Sodhi has a fifty to his name but he is not someone that the Knights want to be banking on for his batting abilities.
Daryl Mitchell, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Flynn, and Brett Hampton have all played some useful hands but they will need to score more than just cameos to keep their successful season going.
Siefert and Hampton have been the two players that have shown the ability to clear the ball consistently, something they may need against the big-hitting Central Stags. Even Chris Jordan has the ability to clear the boundary as he demonstrated in the last match.
The Knights have a good batting lineup and the positive for them is that a lot of players seem to be in form. They will be hoping for more of the players to make the most of this form or else they risk being dragged back into the fold and having to fight for a qualification spot.
We believe that the Northern Knights have been winning matches more because of their bowling than their batting. Devcich, Sodhi, and Arnell all have six wickets to their name while Daryl Mitchell has 5. That’s four out of five bowlers in excellent form.
Sodhi, though, is going to be unavailable for this match because of his international commitments. Chris Jordan is a very useful addition to the bowling attack and has the ability to provide pinpoint yorkers on demand.
The Northern Knights are still a very good side but they have been weakened considerably due to loss of some important players to other commitments.
Pitch and Conditions
There is a 20% chance of rain being forecast in New Plymouth on the day of the match. The hope is for an uninterrupted match and full match to be played out. The pitch is expected to be a little on the slower side but the small boundaries should allow for some big scores none the less.
These are two string batting sides taking on each other and we expect scores to be in excess of 180.
The Central Districts Stags have a 2-2 record against the Northern Districts Knights over the last five matches with the remaining one being rained out. For this match, though we feel that the Central Stags are in better form and have a stronger team than the Northern Knights and should win.
Back the Central Districts Stags to win