Wizards fall short in run chase

There were no rewards for bravery as State Canterbury Wizards’ bid for victory fell just short against State Otago Volts today.

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Canterbury ended the State Championship fixture at Queen's Park in Invercargill on 285 for seven in their second innings, seven runs shy of the target for outright points.

It marked an exciting climax to a match which had seemed destined for a tame first innings result after rain intruded on the opening two days.

But Canterbury captain Kruger van Wyk and his Otago counterpart Craig Cumming both made sporting declarations to added extra interest to proceedings on the final afternoon.

The reigning champions resumed this morning on 145 for five and took 12 overs to progress to 174 without further loss before declaring their first innings and handing Otago a lead of 178 runs.

The Otago batsmen were then given a licence to thrill, thrashing 113 for five off just 17 overs, with teenage opener Hamish Rutherford enjoying the freedom to lash out.

Rutherford, the son of former New Zealand captain Ken, had made an inauspicious start to his first-class career by collecting a pair of ducks in his previous two innings.

But he got underway today, slamming 31 off 23 balls, including three fours and two sixes, while Shaun Haig and Neil Broom also produced brief cameos before Cumming closed the innings.

Canterbury made a good fist of their chase, with Andrew Ellis setting a solid foundation at first drop with a patient 71 scored off 165 balls.

His diligence gave those below him something on build on, and Shanan Stewart, in particular, threatened to see Canterbury home.

They were six down with three overs remaining and still requiring 34 to win when Stewart took the long handle to Broom to improve his team's odds.

He duly passed 50 and ended the match unbeaten on 69 off 68 balls, with three fours and four sixes.


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