Round 4 Ford Trophy: SKYCITY Northern Knights 308/8 (Brownlie 66, Mitchell 100 not out, Santner 45; Jacob Duffy 4-64) lost to SBS Bank Otago Volts 309/5 in 49.3 overs (Redmond 64, Wells 93, Bracewell 83; Sodhi 3-48) by 5 wickets at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Another day, another runfest in the spectacular early rounds of the 2014/15 Ford Trophy. The SKYCITY Northern Knights made their highest List A total playing at Bay Oval, exceeding the 301-7 they made against the same opponents here two season ago. But both teams would ultimately top 300 in a last-over thriller between the Knights and SBS Bank Otago Volts this time around, the Volts getting up by five wickets with three balls to spare.
Batting first after winning the toss, the Knights’ 308-8 was built on the back of a landmark innings from emerging batsman Daryl Mitchell (100 not out), who backed up his pivotal half-century three days ago at the same venue with a maiden Ford Trophy and List A century.
He was supported by 45 from fellow youngster Mitchell Santner, while Dean Brownlie had got the ball rolling with a quality 66.
The Volts would prove undaunted, however, making a big dent in the chase thanks to the solid work of its top order. Aaron Redmond (64) bounced back strongly from the previous game while Sam Wells continued his storming return with a career best 93. Together they poured on 134 for the first wicket, making the Knights sweat under the blistering Mount Maunganui sun.
When Ish Sodhi finally broke the stand in the 28th over — the first of three wickets for the BLACKCAPS legspinner, there was little relief for the hosts as Michael Bracewell stepped in to slash the white cherry around the park and threaten the record for the fastest Ford Trophy century.
Bracewell was caught for 83 off just 48 balls, including 10 fours and four sixes — after having crunched a half-century off just 30 balls. His 111-run partnership with Wells ended just eight runs shy of the Volts’ second-wicket record against the Knights.
Despite some feisty attacking bowling at the death from spinners Santner and Jono Boult, the Volts overcame a flurry of late wickets and scrabbled together the 23 runs needed from the final two overs to bring home the nailbiter — helped along by two extras conceded by Boult and Scott Kuggeleijn under pressure, then an unlucky bottom edge off Kuggeleijn that sneaked away to the fine leg boundary.
The thoroughly entertaining five-wicket win pushed the Volts back up to second place on the Ford Trophy points table, behind the unbeaten Mondiale Auckland Aces — and their youthful pace bowler Jacob Duffy impressed by backing up his maiden five-wicket bag two days ago in Auckland with a useful 4-64 today.
The remaining round four matches take place tomorrow, in Nelson, where the Devon Hotel Central Stags host the Wellington Firebirds at Saxton Oval, and Timaru, where under-pressure Canterbury will be looking for their first win of the competition against the Aces at Aorangi Oval.