Duffy set to play rare game for Otago

Otago seamer Jacob Duffy in action during the rained-off Super Smash match against Auckland at...
Otago seamer Jacob Duffy in action during the rained-off Super Smash match against Auckland at the University of Otago Oval on Sunday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Jacob Duffy is going to play a rare game of cricket on Sunday.

Well, that is how it feels for the Otago co-captain.

The schedule for the Super Smash season is not exactly demanding this summer. And with Otago's past two home games abandoned because of poor weather, the Volts have completed just one game this year.

"I've never had it in my career where you just play on the weekends," Duffy said.

"It does feel like you are not playing a lot of cricket. But we are putting a lot of time into training and playing intra-squad games during the week."

Duffy has had plenty of time to figure out how he is going to dismiss Colin Munro or Martin Guptill at Eden Park Outer Oval this weekend.

The teams had a dress rehearsal at the University of Otago Oval on Sunday. Auckland was on track for a monster score at 117 for one with nine overs remaining.

But the rain closed in and the game was called off. The points were shared but Otago's bowling unit was left bruised.

Duffy provided the only Otago highlight. He bowled Munro with a delivery which hooped past the left-hander's mighty swing.

The 24-year-old Southlander has been in good touch with the white ball. Duffy was the second-leading wicket-taker in the one-day tournament with 25 wickets at an average of 19.40.

He nabbed a couple of five-wicket bags as well and helped Otago make the tournament final.

The side looked like it carried some of that form into the Super Smash but has seemingly lost momentum.

"I know where you are coming from, I guess. But at the same time you also need to look at the other teams and they have a lot of New Zealand A guys and Black Caps coming back.

"We've had a pretty similar team throughout which is good at the same time as well. But we are in a bloody good competition and this batting line-up we are coming up against on Sunday is world-class.

"But we are prepared for that and can only do the best we can. They say twenty20 is a momentum game but when you play once a week you don't get the momentum."

It shapes as a critical match for Otago. Northern Districts leads the standings with 24 points. Central Districts is in second place with 14 points, while Otago occupies the final playoff slot with 12 points in third place.

But Wellington (10 points) and Auckland (eight points) are in pursuit, while Canterbury (four points) might be too far back.

"Every game from now on is crucial. It is bunched in the middle, Effectively there are four teams competing for two spots.

"But the good thing is we play those teams, so we are in control of our own destiny. We're in a good spot to make a push for those playoffs."

 

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