About the Match
The Otago Volts were blown away by a powerful inning from Ben Stokes in their opening encounter and will now hope to register their first victory against the defending Champions, Wellington Firebirds. It will be a tough ask of the Otago franchise especially considering the fact that the Firebirds will be coming into this match on the back of a crushing victory over the Northern Knights.
The Otago Volts were blown away by a Stokes special as he hammered them all over the park for 93 runs including 7 towering sixes. There are many international teams that have faced similar treatment as that of the Otago bowling lineup, however, it was painfully obvious that the Otago bowlers were not really testing Stokes.
A bowling lineup that is composed of Barnes, Kitchen, Duffy, and Hunter is not going to give any of the other teams any nightmares.
Among these, Barnes was able to keep the runs down and Duffy ended picking up five wickets, but the Volts will have to find a way to make these bowlers more effective going forward. It was very disappointing to see Jimmy Neesham relegated to the 6th
bowler in such a weak lineup considering that he was at one time considered a genuine international quality all-rounder.
It would be unfair to judge the batting performance from the Otago Volts while chasing 218 in their first match as an indication of things to follow and we believe that they have some real talent to call upon.
Rob Nichol showed glimpses of form in his brief innings of 26 from 16 balls. He could be one player to watch in the upcoming matches. The other players in the batting lineup included names like Hamish Rutherford, Jimmy Neesham, and Neil Broom, all players that are of proven quality.
In a T20 game where just one or two batsmen can take the game away from the opposition, we can see the Otago Volts being able to put up some challenging totals.
A winning to the campaign would have filled the defending champions with confidence. They faced up to the Northern Knights in their opening encounter and defeated them comprehensively. It was not a performance without flaws though as the Firebirds ended up defending a below-par total against a relatively weak batting unit.
Their own batsmen got starts but were unable to really step on the accelerator against some tight spin bowling by Ish Sodhi. Had it not been for Michael Bracewell’s 56 from 28 balls down the order, the Firebirds could have been caught short of a defendable total.
Making sure the batsmen carry on from their starts and improving their power hitting element of the game will be key things for the Wellington Firebirds to work on in their future matches.
The Firebirds made a very astute acquisition in Samit Patel before the start of this tournament. He is someone who can bat in the middle order and reliably provide four overs in the match. With Samit Patel and Jeetan Patel in their team, the Firebirds have 8 overs which will be tough for any opposition to target.
It was also very positive to see the form that Hamish Bennett showed in the opening match finishing with two wickets from four overs while giving away only 18 runs. We think that a strong batting lineup could target van Beek and Anurag Verma to cause the Firebirds some trouble but overall this is a pretty strong bowling lineup.
Pitch and Conditions
A lot of rain has been predicted on match day and it looks likely that we will have a rain-affected match, if we end up having a match at all. Dunedin will provide some assistance to the bowlers, both fast and spin, and should provide for an even contest between the bat and ball.
The Otago Volts have only lost once in the last four matches that have played against the Wellington Firebirds. Their last encounter was a rain-affected encounter which ended up in a tie.
We are backing the defending champions to continue with their winning start and beat the Otago Volts.
Wellington Firebirds to win