Trio's form critical to hopes

Anaru Kitchen.
Anaru Kitchen.
The one-day competition has reached its mid point and Otago is well placed to make the playoffs. Cricket writer Adrian Seconi looks at the Volts' prospects in the second half of the tournament. 

Three of the best

The top three reasons why Otago finds itself in second place midway through the tournament are: Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom and Anaru Kitchen.

No surprises there. They are the class trio in the batting line-up. They have the most experience and the most runs behind them.

They are nicely split throughout what is an otherwise inexperienced batting order. And when two out of the three of them bat well, Otago's chances of winning improve exponentially. Their ongoing form is critical for Otago. Last summer the Volts lost their last five one-day games to fall out of contention.

They won't be wanting a repeat of that.

Great catch, that

Otago has had some athletic fieldsmen over the years. Nothing got past Nathan McCullum, for example.

But when he retired two years ago, the effort in the field withered. Some of that energy has returned.

There is no real standout but everyone is holding on to their catches and keeping the pressure on the batsmen with some good work inside the 30m circle.

There has been some desperation shown on the boundary edge as well. Every run saved is one you don't have to score.

Neil Broom.
Neil Broom.
Yes, no, wait ... sorry

Some of the best running Otago has done this season is when they've been heading for the sideline during a passing shower.

If only they unleashed that sort of pace in the middle. The running between the wickets has been a source of frustration for a while and there have been a couple of comical errors this season.

Often it has been as simple as players watching the ball rather than their batting partner.

The Wellington all-stars

Tomorrow's match against Wellington shapes as an important game for a couple of reasons.

Hamish Rutherford
Hamish Rutherford
The competition leader smashed Otago by a whopping 193 runs on a bouncy Basin Reserve wicket last week, so there will be plenty of motivation to reverse that result.

Along with Wellington's coterie of talented South Africans are two former Otago players - Michael Bracewell and Jimmy Neesham - so that adds to the rivalry.

The match will be played on a used wicket at the University of Otago Oval which will offer significantly less bounce and more comfort for the Volts batting line-up.

Hamish Rutherford will be looking forward to another stint in the middle having flayed 154 at the venue on Wednesday.

But the other reason the game is critical is Otago could climb to the top of the standings and open up a buffer on the remainder of the field, depending on the outcome of the other games.

It would be handy if the two bottom-placed teams, Northern Districts and Central Districts, beat Canterbury and Auckland respectively.

 

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