Volts’ bold declaration not backed by performance

Well, at least the Otago Volts made a game of it.

A bold declaration showed a willingness to chance their arm but the Volts could not match it with batting or bowling ability as they were crushed by 213 runs on the final day of the Plunket Shield game against Auckland at the University Oval yesterday.

After rain wrecked almost the entire weekend, the Volts chose to let their first innings sit at 86 for four.

Declaring 239 runs behind is a bold strategy but there was no other choice if there was to be any hope of a result.

Auckland took the bait — and then some — and rattled up 84 for two off nine overs, at the positively indecent rate of 9.3 runs an over, before declaring.

Black Caps white-ball specialist Glen Phillips did the damage for the Aces, blasting the second-fastest domestic half-century (21 balls) in New Zealand first-class history, swiping seven fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 53.

Chasing 324 to win off 85 overs, the Volts needed to produce either something special to charge to victory or some deep reserves of application to battle out a draw.

They produced neither.

Mitch Renwick fell for a duck off the fourth ball of the innings, rookie opener Jacob Cumming completed a challenging debut with 8, Dale Phillips managed 18 and Thorn Parkes went for 1 as the Volts limped into lunch at 41 for four.

At 106 for six with 40 overs to survive, Otago’s hopes rested squarely on the shoulders of stand-in skipper Nick Kelly, and he fought hard for 48 off 109 balls before falling to debutant paceman Simon Keene.

At 20, Keene showed his potential by ripping through the tail for a maiden five-wicket bag, finishing with five for 24 to go with two wickets in the first innings as Otago melted for 110.

That made it two from two in first-class cricket for the Aces, who are making up for lost time in a lockdown-delayed season.

The Volts do not play another Plunket Shield game until March 11, but they are back in action on Friday with a Ford Trophy game against Northern in Whangarei.


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