Otago has won six games on the trot and is a win or two
away from securing a home twenty/20 final. The Volts last won
the tournament in 2008-09 and cricket writer Adrian Seconi
highlights five reasons why they can repeat that effort this
Twenty/20 is a batsman's game and Otago has batted with more
aggression and more consistency than the other five teams.
The Volts are averaging 180.71 runs a game - the highest in
the tournament. They have passed 200 once this season and
have posted three scores in the 190s. Wellington has scored
more runs but it has played one more match.
It is also worth noting when Otago has hit more boundaries
than its opponent, it has won, with the exception of the
five-wicket win against Auckland at Eden Park. And on that
occasion, the difference was just one boundary.
In total, Otago has scored 158 boundaries (53 sixes and 105
SETTING THE PACE
Otago has batted first in five out of seven games and won
every time. That success can be put down to a combination of
some good batting efforts or, when needed, some gutsy bowling
Openers Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom have tended to set a
good platform. But when they have missed out, the
ever-reliable Ryan ten Doeschate has combined with a cast of
others to help turn the match around.
When all else has failed, strike bowlers Jacob Duffy and
James Fuller and left-arm spinner Nick Beard have made
crucial breakthroughs or come up with a tight over right on
cue. They have taken 28 wickets between them and Beard has
been at his frugal best, conceding an average of 6.27 runs
Since ten Doeschate and Fuller have joined the team, the
Volts have not lost. The camp is riding a six-game winning
It has not always been easy, though. Otago has had to battle
back from some tight situations. The team had slumped to 41
for four against Northern Districts but rallied to win by 11
runs, and Duffy produced a stunning last over to help seal a
dramatic one-run win against Canterbury in Timaru.
But there have been some comprehensive wins, as well. Otago
creamed Wellington by 82 runs two days before Christmas and
crushed Central Districts by 93 runs on Sunday.
Barring an alarming slump in form, Otago should be able to
secure a home final.
Twenty/20 often comes down to a duel between the best player
on each side. Well, Otago can breathe easy because in ten
Doeschate it has the greatest finisher in the tournament. He
has eviscerated the country's bowling attacks with 318 runs
at an average of 79.50 and a magnificent strike rate of
Wellington's Jesse Ryder has been more punishing but ten
Doeschate is the better all-round player. He has been
under-utilised at the bowling crease so far, but is more than
capable with the ball. He is also a sharp fielder and his
leadership skills have been invaluable for young captain
Derek de Boorder.
If everything goes to plan, Otago should sweep into the
final. The Volts have three round-robin matches remaining and
enjoy a four-point buffer at the top of the table with a game
Two of their three remaining games are against the two
Canterbury (fifth) is a dangerous match-up but Central
Districts (sixth) has been woeful this summer.
The toughest encounter is against Wellington tonight. Should
Otago beat Wellington and Canterbury upset Northern Districts
in the other match, Otago will host the final, regardless of
what happens in its remaining matches.