Cricket: Otago finds its will to win - almost too late

Otago escaped with a dramatic one-run win against Canterbury thanks to a superb catch and the cool head of a young man.

The Volts posted a competitive 196 for seven but produced a lacklustre effort in the field for all but the last two overs of Canterbury's innings at Aorangi Oval in Timaru yesterday.

The home side had got itself into a winning position and needed just 13 runs from two overs, with four wickets in hand.

Otago had generally bowled and fielded poorly but, with the game seemingly slipping away, the visitors rediscovered their desire to win.

''For 18 overs I was not sure whether we wanted it that much but we showed our desire in the last couple of overs,'' Johnson said.

James Fuller, who was easily the pick of the bowlers with one for 21, conceded just six runs from the penultimate over, setting up a thrilling finish.

Still, Canterbury was in control, with Todd Astle making 26 from 13 deliveries.

Otago captain Sam Wells threw the ball to 18-year-old rookie Jacob Duffy and the teenager did not let him down.

He struck first ball but it took an incredible catch from Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate. He dived to his right and intercepted a full-blooded cut shot to dismiss Astle.

Canterbury needed seven from five, then six from three and finally four to win from the last ball.

Duffy had absorbed all the pressure and now that pressure was on the batsman Logan van Beek. He whipped the final delivery to midwicket and dashed back for a second run.

''That last over is something Jacob can remember for all his career, because he actually won the game.''

The win has lifted Otago into second place on the competition table, with three wins from four games.

''We are not very happy with the way we fielded or bowled in that second innings. It was fantastic to be put under that much pressure and still get a result but I'm certainly not 100% happy.

''I suppose if you can win ugly then that is great, but we need to perform better than that.''

Earlier, Hamish Rutherford got Otago off to a rapid start with 37 from 25 deliveries. But the bulk of the runs came from a fine 101-run stand for the fifth-wicket between ten Doeschate and Michael Bracewell.

Bracewell (61) was particularly aggressive, bringing up 50 from 23 deliveries. He hit three fours and four sixes in a 32-ball stay which featured some wonderful timing.

Ten Doeschate had scored more than 50 in all his previous outings for the province and the Dutch international was near his best again, swatting 47 runs from 27 deliveries.

But once the pair were removed, Otago lost momentum. The team had been looking at a total of perhaps 220 but struggled to find the boundary in the final four overs.

Ian Butler missed out and Fuller and Mark Craig were not able to match the tempo set by Bracewell and ten Doeschate. Otago managed just 38 runs in the last five overs and it almost proved costly.

Canterbury was in control of the game at the halfway point of its innings at 103 for two.

Opener George Worker smashed 47 from 30 deliveries and was partly responsible for a murderous over which saw spinner Nick Beard concede 24 runs. The captain, Tom Latham, was also finding the middle of the bat with 39 from 25 deliveries. His departure in the 11th over boosted Otago's morale.

But English professional Gareth Andrew wielded his Mongoose bat with terrific power, flaying three sixes and two fours in an innings of 37 from 19 deliveries.

His power-hitting helped get his side into a winning position. Canterbury needed 51 runs from the last five overs with five wickets in hand and should have been able to win the game.