Defending champs build early lead

Defending champs build early lead

SKYCITY Northern Knights 145-5 (Daryl Mitchell 45, Dean Brownlie 40) beat SBS Bank Otago Volts 135-6 (Ryan ten Doeschate 38, Jesse Ryder 33, Jono Boult 26-2) by ten runs. 

Despite losing his second toss in a row, SKYCITY Northern Knights skipper Daniel Flynn was “more than happy to bat first” at Seddon Park as game three brought together last season’s Grand Finalists.

While Flynn fell early, Anton Devcich (23 off 17) and Dean Brownlie (40 off 27) got the work underway with a 63-run stand in 6.2 overs, respecting a nagging Jesse Ryder but little else until Devcich skied Nathan McCullum to a grateful Aaron Redmond. A sharp-eyed Michael Bracewell then pulled off a class run out by sprinting sharply back and across from slip to skittle Brownlie’s stumps from the leg-side.

The SBS Bank Otago Volts were back in the game and put the squeeze on the Knights through the middle, Nathan McCullum (1-15, including a maiden) and Nick Beard (0-14) forcing the Knights to show them respect. The run rate shrivelling up, Daryl Mitchell (45) and Scott Kuggeleijn ground it out for a 65-run stand, before charging at the death to get their side to 145-5.

It was some 20 runs short of Flynn’s expectations, but his bowling attack and the collective fielding effort would once again be the key to his success. Kuggeleijn made an important early breakthrough by removing Aaron Redmond, brilliantly caught by an airborne Dean Brownlie at slip. Brownlie was the star of the field, later rocketing in a dead-eye, flat throw all the way from the boundary rope to a waiting Jono Boult to run out Derek de Boorder.

Michael Bracewell (30 off 22 balls) and Jesse Ryder (33 off 33) gave the Volts a show with a gutsy 62-run stand, but their departures inside three balls put on the brakes through the middle. Relishing the slower conditions, Boult had got them both. He and Daniel Vettori had continued their iron grip on proceedings from the previous afternoon, but fellow spinner Devcich saw his figures hit by a combative Ryan ten Doeschate. 
Volts captain Ryan ten Doeschate fought hard to get his side home with 38 from 25 balls.

The dangerous skipper smoked 38 off 25 in an urgent fightback, but the reintroduction of strike force Ben Laughlin (1-21 off four) delivered the crucial wicket. Boult was entrusted with the last-over honours and the courageous spinner ensured the Volts were, once again, pipped at the death — holding them to 135-6 for a 10-run victory. 

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