About the Match
The only points that the Otago Volts have registered in the Super Smash 2017/18 so far are because of a washed out game. They have lost five out of the six matches they have played so far and become the punching bag of this tournament. Their opponents, the Northern Districts Knights will be very keen to win this match and go to the top of the table. They have had a good season so far and only have a few kinks to work out before getting ready for the knockouts.
It seemed for a little while in the match between Otago and Wellington that the Volts were finally on their way to posing a defendable total when Nicol and Hicks were batting. Both of them, however, perished within a few overs of each other and a score that looked like crossing 180 was kept to 159.
It was a familiar story for a team that has basically seen only two batsmen contribute with any regularity this season. Nicol and Hicks have 153 and 143 runs to their name while no one else in their team has crossed a total of 70 runs for the tournament.
Players like Rutherford and Broom have been very disappointing. Questions must be raised about their willingness to put in the hard yards now that the Volts have no chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Perhaps a change in the batting order or the personnel could bring in some freshness to the Otago Volts batting lineup.
The bowling has also been quite poor with only Barnes, Duffy, and Wagner threatening on occasions. Neil Wagner is a regular international player for New Zealand and would be very disappointed at having taken only 2 wickets after playing 5 matches.
Things look dire for the Otago Volts and even though the T20 format allows for some spectacular surprises, it will take a really special individual performance to lift this team out of the mire.
Northern Districts Knights
While the Volts had only two players who have scored more than hundred runs in total, the Northern Knights have 5. One of those, Tom Siefert, now has 243 runs in the tournament with an astonishing 15 sixes to his name.
Siefert kickstarted a fantastic chase against the Central Stags in the last match that saw the Knights chase down 182 with ease. Valuable contributions from Siefert, Brownlie, Hampton, and Mitchell underlined the strength of this batting order as well as the form that they are currently enjoying.
Even the loss of Ish Sodhi to his international commitments was not enough to upset the balance of the team as the rest of the bowlers did a great job as well. Arnell, Patel, and Tickner continue to pick wickets and with Sodhi hopefully being available for the upcoming matches once again, the Knights will receive another boost.
There is very little that is wrong with the Knights at the moment. They have lost a couple of closely contested games but have not suffered the kind of collapses and sporadic phases of anarchy that some of the other teams in this competition have displayed.
It is difficult to bet against them taking on the Otago Volts in current form.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather in Dunedin on match day is expected to be mostly clear with a few clouds around. The humidity is going to be high, though, and if the pitch has some grass on it then we could some swing for the bowlers. In all likelihood, however, this pitch is also going to follow the template set by the others and be absolutely flat to favor the batsmen.
Otago may have lost the last match they played against the Northern Knights but they won the four matches against them before that. For this match, though, bet on the Knights to register another win.
Northern Districts Knights to win