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After a brief Christmas break of two days with Central Districts taking on Northern Districts on Thursday. Following this match, we have Otago Volts taking on Wellington Firebirds locking horns in an important encounter on Friday, 28th December at the Basin Reserve, Wellington. These are still early days in the tournament and but it's important to get ahead in the points table with a few wins. Otago Volts have already won one match and will be looking to extend their winning run and get to the top of the table. The Firebirds had to settle for shared points in their last game as the rain played spoilsport. The last year finalists will be looking to draw their first blood to kickstart their this year's campaign.
Otago Volts started their Super Smash campaign in an emphatic fashion as they registered a superb win against Canterbury Kings on the second day of the tournament. On a smallish surface at Dunedin, their bowlers did well to keep Canterbury to a sub-200 score before their batsmen overhauled the total.
Bowling first after losing the toss, the Volts started off well as they got rid of Andrew Ellis in the fourth over of the innings. Their bowlers were then hammered all around the park by Stephen Murdoch and Chad Bowes. Jacob Duffy was hammered for plenty in his spell and finished with expensive figures of 4-0-46-0. Christi Viljoen, who bowled just a couple of overs, was the most successful bowler for the Volts as he dismissed two Kings' batsmen for just 13 runs. Michael Rippon also bowled well and returned with the figures of 26 for 1 in his four.
Chasing a total of 185, the Volts started off in a remarkable fashion and took the attack to the Kings' bowlers. The openers were pretty severe on Kyle Jamieson in his first couple of overs as they scored 29 off his two. Neil Broom, thereafter, got 18 off Andrew Ellis' over which set Volts perfectly on the road to the chase. With a few hiccups in the middle overs, they eventually completed the chase easily with three balls and five wickets to spare.
Devon Conway, Michael Bracewell, Adam Hose, James Neesham, TA Blundell, Michael Pollard, Luke Woodcock, Ollie Newton, Jeetan Patel, PY Husband, Hamish Bennett.
Firebirds' opportunity to secure their first win was lost as rain played spoilsport in their second encounter, against Auckland Aces. They're currently placed third in the points table with two points.
They lost their opening encounter to Northern Districts, who also happened to be the opening match of the tournament, by a comprehensive margin. They had a terrific start to the game as they picked up Anton Devcich on the second delivery of the match. However, things only went downhill for them thereon.
Their bowlers were smashed to all parts of the park by Tim Seifert and Dean Brownlie. Although they managed to restrict Northern Districts to 215 after they looked well set to go past 225, their bowling was subpar.
They had a reasonable start with the bat as they had more than a hundred runs on the board midway through their innings. They had, however, lost three of their batsmen by then and needed a partnership. Neesham's departure just about then didn't really help their cause as they lost all the momentum they had. Their lower middle-order was apparently left to do a job they were too big for them. The Firebirds were eventually dismissed for 170, losing the match by 45 runs.
Hamish Rutherford, NT Broom, Anaru Kitchen, Shawn Hicks, Ben Cox, Joshua Finnie, MJ Rippon, Nathan Smith, C Viljoen, Jacob Duffy, Jack Hunter.
Last year's runners-up didn't get off to the start they were looking for and will have to catch up quickly with Otago Volts and Northern Districts as far as the points table is concerned. Otago Volts already have a win to their name and will be the more confident team going into the next match. Having said that, the Firebirds are playing at home and their batting looked good before they lost it towards the back-end of their innings. They'll be desperate for a win here and with the home advantage, we think they are better placed to emerge victorious in their upcoming fixture against Volts.
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