Otago drought now at 375 days

Michael Rippon.
Michael Rippon.
Of all the cliches, ''nothing left to lose'' springs to mind when thinking about Otago's match against Northern Districts at the University Oval today.

The Volts have been horribly out of sorts in the game's shortest format, adding weight to the rumour the team has taken a gap year.

Actually, it has been slightly longer than that. To be exact, it has been 375 days since Otago last won a twenty20 match.

The Volts were winless in the format in 2017 and have lost 10 of their past 11 games.

That other game - well, it was a rained off fixture against Wellington in Dunedin on December 17, so not much to get excited about there.

The latest instalment was light on surprise and heavy on disappointment. Wellington dished out a ruthless seven-wicket defeat at the Basin Reserve on New Year's Eve.

The Volts were restricted to 159 for seven despite putting together their best partnership of the tournament. Rob Nicol (36 from 26) and Shawn Hicks (50 from 37) combined for a 73-run stand for the second wicket and had Otago in good shape.

Josh Finnie (22 from 14) got in a few more lusty blows but the innings fell away.

It quickly became apparent just how much the Volts had short-changed themselves.

Wellington openers Luke Ronchi (49 from 32) and Hamish Marshall (43 from 17) teamed up to bludgeon 75 runs from the first five overs. Import Samit Patel whacked an undefeated 34 from 16 to complete what was an emphatic win for the home team with seven overs to spare.

None of Otago's seamers escaped without their records being damaged. Test hero Neil Wagner went for 13 runs an over. Jacob Duffy's two-over stint cost 31 runs and Warren Barnes took one for 47 from four overs.

Despite the heavy loss, the Volts have made just one change. Leg-spinner Michael Rippon returns from injury and replaces 17-year-old left-arm spinner Ben Lockrose.

Matt Bacon has carried the drinks a lot this season, including on Sunday. It might be time to give the Albion medium-pacer a run.

Otago under-19 batsman Llew Johnson is also in the squad and might get an opportunity before too long.

For Northern Districts, Bay of Plenty pace bowler and all-rounder Sean Davey replaces Brent Arnel, who is out with a neck strain.

Mark Chapman hit his maiden T20 century yesterday to help Auckland back to the top of the Super Smash.

The seven-run win over Canterbury in Christchurch yesterday took Auckland Two points clear of defending champion Wellington and Northern Districts.


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