About the Match
Wellington recently defeated Canterbury by 5 wickets to move up to the 3rd position; they now have 12 points and will take on Otago, who are at the bottom of the table with 2 points, on 31st December at Wellington. While Otago has been on a losing streak, suffering defeat against Auckland and Canterbury in recent outings, Wellington made a comeback with a win after a string of losses against Auckland and Northern Knights. The two teams haven’t played against each other as their last contest was wiped out by rain; the upcoming match would surely be interesting as hosts Wellington try to continue winning.
The bowling department put up a stupendous show against Canterbury, dismissing opponents at regular intervals; spinners Samit Patel and Jeetan Patel took 2 wickets each while medium-pacer Anurag Verma claimed 2-15 in 3 overs. Ollie Newton, Luke Woodcock and Ian McPeake dismissed one opponent each and helped restrict Canterbury to 138. Wicket-keeper Tom Blundell posted a superb 53 to steer his team across the finish line with help from others like Luke Ronchi, Hamish Marshall and Samit Patel.
Against Auckland, they posted a challenging total of 206 runs thanks to a powerful 102 off 46 by Luke Ronchi. Samit Patel showcased his all-rounder skills yet again, scoring 24 and helping to keep the runs coming. However, the bowlers failed to defend the total despite a 2-wicket haul each by Luke Woodcock and Anurag Verma. Samit Patel, Jeetan Patel and Ollie Newton took a wicket each, but others proved to be expensive, losing the match by 2 wickets in the end.
Wellington has done well to move up the ladder and secure points consistently; they have the home advantage here, and we could see them come out all guns blazing on Sunday.
Despite Hamish Rutherford’s well-made 51, Otago could post only a humble total of 147 against Auckland; the bowlers then found it challenging to defend the total despite a good show by spinner Ben Lockrose and others like Rob Nicol and Warren Barnes, who took a wicket each at steady intervals. Players like Rob Nicol and Neil Broom failed to impress with the bat while others in the middle order couldn’t build strong partnerships.
Against Canterbury too, they could muster only 144 runs after most of the batsmen got dismissed cheaply except for Rob Nicol, who top-scored with 65 off 58. The captain led from the front but had no support from players like Rutherford, Shawn Hicks, James Neesham and Anaru Kitchen. Warren Barnes, Jacob Duffy and James Neesham took 4 wickets between them but they couldn’t stop the opposition from hitting the winning runs.
Otago has yet to win a match and they will be desperate to put up a good show here; with players like Nicol, Rutherford, Shawn Hicks and Neesham in the top-order, they would try to build a solid foundation whether batting first or during chase. The bowlers are in good form, and could fire with all pistons here.
Although Otago has experienced players on its side, we feel that Wellington with a better form and the home advantage to its side, are better placed to emerge victorious on Sunday.