Final set to be a right royal battle

The Kai Kings and the Milton King Crabs will contest the South Otago T20 final this weekend.

Kai beat the Clutha Comets by one run in a thriller in Kaitangata.

The Kings could only muster 104 for eight off their 20 overs.

For the first time this season, the top order went cheaply, and the Kings were in trouble at 39 for four in the 10th over.

Jason Young (34) produced an important knock and Kobe Thomson (14) added some useful runs at the tail. William Casey’s 18 was the only other score of note.

Connor Smith took three for 20 off his four overs for Clutha, and Abhijeet Malandkar picked up two wickets in his first appearance for the Comets this season.

In reply, the Comets also lost early wickets and were 38 for five when Dom Grinton and Daniel Sutherland came together and almost pulled off a heroic win.

Grinton (35 off 28) was the aggressor in the partnership with some booming sixes. Sutherland (25 not out) knew his place and fed the strike to his partner as well as dispatching the bad balls to the boundary.

The pair gave their side a chance with 18 runs required off the final over. Grinton hit 14 runs of the first four balls of the over to set up a grandstand finish but was dismissed next ball. Clutha could only run two off the final ball to fall short by one run in a fantastic effort.

Casey took three for 16 off his four overs.

The King Crabs beat the Owaka Bandits by 29 runs in Owaka.

An 82-run opening stand between Dylan Greer (43) and Simon Scott (33) set the tone as Milton made 133 for five.

Nathan White was the pick of the home side’s bowlers with two for 10 off four overs.

In reply, Owaka’s top order failed to fire on the back of a fantastic opening spell of bowling from Braden Adams (two for 17) and Alex Burleigh (two for five).

Francis Parker top-scored for Owaka with 36, but the Bandits were rolled for 104 in the 18th over. Dylan Mathieson took three wickets for the Crabs.

The Waihola Swans crushed the Valley Stingers’ dreams of featuring in a second consecutive T20 final with a 26-run win in Milton.

Waihola was dismissed for 105 off the final ball of the innings, led by opener Dylan Bungard (47 off 44, including four sixes).

Ash Sharma recorded his first five-wicket haul for Valley with impressive figures of five for 23 off four overs.

In reply, none of the Stingers could score meaningful runs as they were restricted to 79 for six off 20 overs.

Bevan McCall’s unbeaten 23 towards the end of the innings was the highlight, while Bungard capped a superb day with one for nine off four overs.

The two sides will face off again this weekend in the third-fourth playoff.

 - North Otago senior cricket was rained off on Saturday.

 - Francis Parker

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