Otago Volts storm into State Shield final

Defending champions the State Otago Volts stormed into the State Shield one-day cricket final when they humbled the State Canterbury Wizards by eight wickets in Christchurch today.

Otago, bowling with fire and fielding with fervour, needed just 39 overs to dismiss Canterbury for 86 runs in the semifinal after winning the toss and opting to field first.

Otago needed exactly 14 overs to polish off the required runs and bring the curtain down on a miserable day for Canterbury.

Veteran Chris Harris would have been scratching his head as he walked to the crease with Canterbury having lost five batsmen for 31 runs in just the 17th over.

At 12 not out off 60 balls when Canterbury's innings folded, he would have been tearing his remaining hair out as the rest of the wickets tumbled with just 55 runs added.

Canterbury's batting, which had racked up 274 against league leaders Northern Districts in their last match, began disintegrating in the first over.

Left arm pace bowler Neil Wagner, 22, was the chief destroyer snapping up the first three Canterbury wickets and now moves to top of the State Sheild MVP bowling rankings.

Iain Robertson was clean bowled by an inswinger off the third ball of the innings and was quickly followed by skipper Kruger Van Wyk, caught behind trying to hook a short pitched delivery.

Opener Michael Papps was next, trapped plumb in front while trying to hit across the line to a pitched up ball from Wagner, whose tally today makes him the leading wicket taker in the competition with 23.

The 22-year-old's seven overs today cost just 11 runs.

Every Otago bowler feasted today -- Warren McSkimming took three for 13, English professional Dimitri Mascarenhas who bowled his 10 overs in one spell was one for 16, Nathan McCullum two for 23 and Ian Butler one for 18.

Mascarenhas removed the in-form Shanan Stewart, scorer of 371 runs at better than a run-a-ball before this match, with a short delivery which Stewart tried to hammer to the off side only to see the ball smash into his stumps off an inside edge.

Corey Anderson and Harris threatened briefly to right their leaking ship.

But their sixth-wicket partnership was broken for 26 with Anderson walking off with Canterbury's hopes when he departed after scoring the lion's share of 23 runs.

Otago gave Canterbury a brief glimmer of hope when they lost two early wickets, Shaun Haig for three and Greg Todd without scoring, leaving Otago teetering at 13 for two after four overs.

A fired-up Shane Bond was the destroyer on both occasions, and was actually on a hat-trick until the steady head of Aaron Redmond prevailed to pull Otago through.

Redmond slammed the winning runs with a four to long on off Andrew Ellis, finishing 48 from 41 balls and including 10 fours. Captain Craig Cumming was equally punishing, his 38 coming from 31 balls and taking in seven fours. Cumming now moves fourth in the overall State Shield standings.

In contrast, the entire Canterbury team could scratch together only six fours - and one six, to Bond - in their innings.

The final, hosted by top qualifiers the State Northern Knights, will be played in Hamilton on Saturday.

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