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Central Districts blasted its way past a modest Otago total to seal a six-wicket win in Invercargill yesterday.
The Volts produced their worst batting effort in the one-day competition this summer, slumping to be all out for 167.
The tournament front-runner took just 24 overs to overhaul the paltry target and picked up a bonus point for its troubles.
It was Otago’s fourth consecutive loss in the format and its playoff prospects are teetering with two round-robin matches remaining.The team has been labouring with the ball but this time it was the batsmen who failed to make an impact.
Blair Tickner produced a terrific spell, taking four for 43. The delivery which removed Rob Nicol was a brute. It was dug in short and rose sharply. Nicol flinched and tried his best to defend himself. The ball ballooned away to the keeper and the umpire gave it out.
Nicol was not convinced it brushed his gloves. He made a gesture suggesting the ball had come from his forearm and may have a nasty bruise to show for it.
Some of the other dismissals in the Volts top order cannot be explained by great bowling, though.
Hamish Rutherford clipped a delivery from his pads to a fielder, Shawn Hicks offered up a gentle caught and bowled, while Derek de Boorder played the wrong line and got a faint edge.
Neil Broom lost his poise while trying to upper cut a Ticker delivery over the third-man boundary. He ended up on his backside and the ball ended up in the hands of Bevan Small.
Otago found itself 57 for five after 17 overs and with only a slim hope of mounting a competitive score.
Jimmy Neesham provided some resistance with 40 from 48. But he ended up chipping the ball to long on and had a big swipe at the pitch with his bat and then his boot.
It has been a frustrating season for the former international but he does not often show that type of emotion on the field.
No 11 Michael Rae clouted a six and three fours in the 30-run stand for the final wicket which got Otago past 150.
Central got its chase off to a brisk start with George Worker and Ben Smith putting on 67 from 9.3 overs.
The Volts needed luck to break the partnership. Seamer Matt Bacon got a hand to a straight drive from Worker and deflected it on to the stumps. Smith had backed up too far and was run out.
Enter Jesse Ryder, who pummelled an unbeaten 48 from 36 balls to ensure an early finish.
There was some joy with the ball for Otago. Michael Rae nabbed three wickets, picking up the scalps of Worker (55) and Will Young (0) in the space of four balls.
• Auckland beat Wellington by 79 runs at the Basin Reserve, in Wellington.In Whangarei, the match between Northern Districts and Canterbury was abandoned after 34 overs, when Northern was 247 for five.