Plunket Shield round 10 of 10 Otago Volts v Northern Districts at University of Otago Oval, 29 March-1 April 2017
First innings batting bonus points: Otago Volts 4 (maximum achieved), Northern Districts 2 (completed)
First innings bowling bonus points: Northern Districts 2 (completed), Otago Volts 4 (maximum achieved)
The title chase proved a bridge too far for Northern Districts after they were all out for 275 in their first dig having pocketed just four of the possible eight bonus points available from the first half of the match, which they had needed to keep in touch with leaders Canterbury. They had also conceded a 157-run lead to the Volts.
However, there was still cricket to play, and play they did with Ish Sodhi making a brilliant impact across the afternoon, taking all six of the first six wickets to fall in the Volts' second innings and reducing them to 170/6, before Scott Kuggeleijn got in on the fun by bowling Nathan Smith to take the score to 174 for seven.
Sodhi added one further to his take his figures to an outstanding seven for 59, and his maiden 10 wicket haul in a match, before the Volts declared their second innings at 189 for eight, a lead of 347 with a day and 14 overs remaining in the season.
At stumps ND required 332 runs to win with 10 wickets in hand heading into the final day of 2017.
First innings batting bonus points: Otago Volts 4 (maximum achieved), Northern Districts 0 (in progress)
First innings bowling bonus points: Northern Districts 2 (completed), Otago Volts 1 (in progress)
After fog delayed the start of the morning session, Derek de Boorder and Anaru Kitchen added a further 11 runs for the fifth wicket before de Boorder was caught behind off Scott Kuggeleijn on 68, breaking the epic partnership on 213.
The wicket gave ND a second bowling bonus point, however Kitchen would charge on with Sam Wells and posted his 150 shortly afterwards.
Wells would be caught in the deep off Ish Sodhi on 36, but ND would be denied any further bowling bonus points as Christi Viljoen picked up the baton of support.
Kitchen would go on to raise his first double century in magnificent style, hoisting a lofted six over square leg off spinner Joe Walker to reach the double ton off 233 balls (17 x 4, 9 x 6).
He had pushed the Volts out to 411 for six, a sterling recovery after their early trouble on day one.
The sides went to lunch at 422 for six, Kitchen finally falling on 207 shortly after the break, followed soon after by the Volts' declaration at 432 for eight.
Nathan Smith then made quick breakthroughs, putting himself on an unconverted hat-trick as he took out both Henry Cooper and Bharat Popli cheaply, the latter for a golden duck.
But Dean Brownlie remained, and had reached 86 by the time he lost his next partner, late in the day's play. Daryl Mitchell had helped him add exactly 100 runs for the fourth wicket in almost three hours before Mitchell was caught behind off Michael Rae just three runs short of a patient half century.
First innings batting bonus points: Otago Volts 3 (in progress)
First innings bowling bonus points: Northern Districts 1 (in progress)
Northern Districts headed to Dunedin as one of three teams left in the running for the 2017 Plunket Shield, albeit as the outside contenders reliant on gaining an outright.
The Otago Volts didn’t help their chances at all on day one.
It hadn’t begun badly for ND, captain Corey Anderson sending the Volts in. By drinks in the middle session, both Volts openers Gregor Croudis (2) and captain Brad Wilson (27), debutant first drop Josh Tasman-Jones (35) and Sean Eathorne (24) had all been chipped out, Ish Sodhi picking up two wickets.
So, so far, so good — until the seasoned pair of Anaru Kitchen and Derek de Boorder settled in for the fifth wicket.
By stumps, the duo had powered to an unbroken 202-run stand, just 50 runs sky of the Broom brothers' record for the wicket against ND; the Volts’ 300 was on the board; and Kitchen had his highest first-class score and his 10th first-class century, equalling the Otago record for most hundreds in a season with his fourth.
In the space of a session and a half they had eroded the ND side’s mood until the merciful calling of stumps with de Boorder unbeaten on 64 and Kitchen on his career best 141, and looking for more tomorrow after six sixes and 14 fours.
For ND, one bowling point was in the bag, and they needed just one more wicket for the second. But with 94 overs having been bowled and the cut-off for bonus points at 110 overs, time is running out to maximise their remaining chances.