Winning sessions key for Otago

Hamish Rutherford.
Hamish Rutherford.
Otago may have only pride to play for in the Plunket Shield but the side needs to start winning sessions as it gets back to the longer format today.

The Volts will take on Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval, which is the final home game for the northern sides.

Otago sits a distant last in the Plunket Shield and has lost all four games played so far this season.

It has played well for periods but then had one bad session which has tended to put it right out of the game.

The side has one batting point from its first half of the competition so it is obvious the side needs to get better with the willow.

Much will depend on Hamish Rutherford and Anaru Kitchen.

Otago has made two changes with Josh Finnie and Brad Wilson dropping out.

The performance of pace bowler Warren Barnes will be of interest as he struggled early in the season and looked a goner.

But when he gets his body right and he is bowling at top pace he can be dangerous.

New boy Tom Clout has been picked although he may carry the drinks.

Test opener Jeet Raval will play for Auckland before the test series against Bangladesh. The first test starts in Hamilton next Thursday.

Auckland is second on the Plunket Shield ladder, finishing the first part of the competition with wins over Canterbury and Northern Districts.

Auckland head coach Mark O'Donnell said the team was looking to continue that form into this final segment of the competition.

''Everyone is fit and ready. It's been good to see our red-ball bowlers getting overs in with Auckland A, and to see batsmen scoring centuries in those games,'' O'Donnell said.

After six weeks of twenty20 games, the sides may take a while to adapt to the longer version of the game.

Otago though has had a good break, having played its final T20 game on February 9.

It has had a decent spell of training, mixed in with rest but the four-day game will test its fitness.

The biggest impact on the game looks like being the weather.

Ran is forecast for tomorrow and through the weekend as a nasty front arrives so it may be a case of plenty of sitting around for the players.

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