OTAGO VOLTS beat WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS by six wickets
26 February 2021
Basin Reserve, Wellington
- Hamish Rutherford seventh List A century for Otago Volts (12th overall)
- Michael Bracewell 100th List A match
- Tom Blundell 50th List A match
- Michael Bracewell 3000 List A runs
- Mitch McClenaghan fourth 5 wicket bag in List A cricket (first for Volts)
- Anaru Kitchen 3000 List A runs
After a rotten run of form, suddenly Hamish Rutherford was back - and just in the nick of time for the Otago Volts at the business end of The Ford Trophy.
A loss today at the Basin and the southerners would have been bundled out of the 2020/21 running - and they'd just all watched the Wellington Firebirds plaster on the capital's fourth-largest ever List A total.
Chasing 340/8, WASP wanted nothing to do with the Otago Volts - until Rutherford and Nick Kelly got things rolling with an aggressive 125-run opening stand in just over 20 overs.
They knew what they had to do. Kelly reached a half century in 61 balls, Rutherford had already got there in 52. And when Firebirds spinner Michael Bracewell shattered Kelly's stumps in the former's 100th List A appearance, Neil Broom just took over the tiller and belted a half ton of his own.
Broom (who once struck three in a season) is the only man with more one-day tons for Otago than Rutherford who now sits just one below his tally. The pair formed a cracking 74-run stand for the second, gathering momentum to keep the Volts on course.
The Volts had needed a big start after the Firebirds had done the same to them - Finn Allen finally back in his Super Smash touch with an explosive 46 off just 21 balls at the top after the Volts had sent them in.
Mitch McClenaghan - who later went on to a five-wicket bag with the last ball of the innings - eventually picked up both openers, but the batting kept coming at the Volts with a strong top-middle order. Jakob Bhula (60), Bracewell (82), captain Troy Johnson (58) and Fraser Colson (46 off 31) all freed their arms before Logan van Beek chipped in a quick 17-ball 33* at the death to see the hosts to 340 for eight.
The Volts had needed seven an over from the outset, but they were back to their best. As the shadows grew longer and longer across the Basin they got closer and closer, until they had needed 77 off the last 10 overs.
Rutherford going on was the key, and he had reached his hundred in 88 balls (8x4, 4x6) before departing in the 33rd over just as he was on the cusp of putting the Volts' 200 on the tins as well.
Rutherford Hundred!!💯— Otago Cricket (@OtagoVolts) February 26, 2021
Ruds brings up his 15th List A Century with a pair of sixes over square leg 👏🙌
102 runs (91 balls, 8 x 4's, 2 x 6's).
Our VOLTS are 220/2 after 35 overs⚡️
STREAM | https://t.co/3QQbyvFg8k
SCORING | https://t.co/RbJFVRcHMl#OurOtago #FordTrophy pic.twitter.com/QOEamm14R9
He had to hand that one over, but Broom was going strong and found a new aggressive partner in Anaru Kitchen who would carry on to the nerve-wracking end.
Kitchen would end unbeaten after a superb 72* off just 46 balls, the pair having taken some big overs off Jamie Gibson to keep themselves in the contest. Broom's luck would run out on 55 when golden arm Bracewell did it again, but the elevation in run rate had the Firebirds under pressure.
The last 10 balls saw the Volts needing just 10 to win after their staggering chase, and Dale Phillips would do the honours with his side just four down. The southern men had lived to fight another day, in a humdinger of a contest that had seen 682 runs cracked on the day.
Buckle your seats for Sunday's rematch.