Ruthless Rutherford finishes off bowlers’ work

Otago opener Hamish Rutherford follows the flight of a six during his side's Super Smash twenty20...
Otago opener Hamish Rutherford follows the flight of a six during his side's Super Smash twenty20 match against Central Districts at the University of Otago Oval on Saturday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Hamish Rutherford blasted Otago into the Super Smash playoffs with a sparkling knock at the top of the innings.

The classy opener guided the Volts to a nine-wicket win against Central Districts at the University of Otago Oval on Saturday with 81 not out.

The 30-year-old left-hander got to do the television interview afterwards and soak up the accolades. But the comprehensive result was as much a victory for planning as it was a showcase for his fireworks with the bat.

The Volts restricted the Stags to a modest tally 139 for six through a combination of discipline, execution and the courage to stick to the plan.

Spinners Anaru Kitchen (two for 22) and Michael Rippon (one for 24) played a major role. They got through eight overs between them and conceded just 46 runs.

But everybody in the bowling unit chipped in to squeeze any momentum from the Stags innings in front of a good crowd of 957.

"The batters have been winning them for us at various times this season but that was a bowler’s victory," Volts coach Rob Walter said.

"To restrict them to 139 was outstanding. We’ve worked really hard on our plans and it worked [on Saturday].

"The two spinners were just outstanding."

Despite all the hitting power in the Stags line-up, the visitors managed just eight fours and one six.

Rutherford scored more runs from boundaries on his own — eight fours and three sixes.

Central Districts did establish a good platform through George Worker (24) and Dane Cleaver (42).

But the 60-run partnership was fashioned at a pace which never caused panic in the fielding side.

In fact, you might argue it put the rest of the batting line-up under pressure.

"It was interesting to see the way they went about it. They weren’t as aggressive as they normally are," Walter said.

"Maybe they felt the pitch was more in the 160 zone than the 180 zone. That allowed us to restrict them and then we took three wickets in three overs and I think that knocked them back."

When Worker decided to play a few more shots, he was quickly dismissed. His departure ushered in a period where wickets fell too often for the Stags.

The captain Tom Bruce came out knowing he had to get on with it. But he misfired, flicking a catch to Josh Finnie at deep square leg.

Cleaver played around a straight one and the danger man Kieran Noema-Barnett charged down the wicket and was stumped.

Suddenly the Stags were 98 for five with just over five overs remaining. The game had slipped away.

The chase was ruthless. Otago has gone hard in the powerplay all season, and hit the repeat button.

Rutherford and Neil Broom put on 71 for the opening wicket. The game was in hand by the time Broom was trapped lbw for 34.

Otago offered up a few too many wides (10) and had the odd early slip-up in the field. Broom probably regrets playing that reverse sweep.

But it was close to a perfect performance from Otago, and bodes well heading into the playoffs.

There is a final round-robin game against Canterbury in Christchurch tomorrow to get through first.

But with the power Otago has at the top of the order, the Volts shape as a real title threat.

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter