Dane Cleaver joined the exclusive 99 not out club | PHOTOSPORT

Cleaver fever in clinical Stags win

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ROUND ONE • 2022/23

University of Otago Oval, Dunedin

24 November 2022

Otago Volts lost to Central Stags by nine wickets

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Last season's beaten Ford Trophy finalists are off to a convincing start in the new season, the Central Stags taking a bonus-point victory as they made short work of the Otago Volts in Dunedin in the first-round match this afternoon.

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The Stags won by nine wickets with some 28 overs to spare, opening batsman Dane Cleaver hitting the winning boundary to finish on 99 not out and become just the second Central Stag to card a knock one run short of a century, equalling Tim Weston's effort for the team in 2010/11.

Cleaver enjoyed being back at the ground where he posted his maiden Dream11 Super Smash ton last summer, and blasted his runs off just 71 balls.

He shared an unbroken 122*-run stand for the second wicket with captain Will Young (37 not out off 42 balls) as Ross Taylor remained padded up enjoying the show in the pavilion.

The comfortable chase followed up a sharp bowling performance by the visitors that dismissed the Volts for just 157 in 41.4 overs, in blustery, cool conditions at University of Otago Oval.

But for a slightly delayed start, the forecast rain stayed away, allowing Brett Randell (3-33) and Blair Tickner (3-49) to each collect their 50th List A wickets after Young sent the Volts in.

Randell also claimed his maiden wicket in the Stags' green jersey after his previous 47-wicket Ford Trophy career for Northern Districts.

The Volts suffered a hasty top order collapse as swing king Seth Rance hit his marks in his first match of the season in any format, with two early wickets, while Doug Bracewell went wicketless but created exceptional pressure with his tight 0-17 off eight overs.

Josh Finnie played an important steadying role for his side at five, his 37 off 48 balls going against his free-spirited nature, but necessary in the game situatiion.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Max Chu put up a fight for the hosts too, with a career-best, run-a-ball 45 before spiner Ajaz Patel stopped him from reaching a maiden 50 at 155/8.

The Central Stags now join Canterbury at the top of the table with five points, with the Auckland Aces and Northern Districts yet to get a start in the competition after their scheduled match today was postponed.

Round Two is at 11am on Wednesday 30 November next week with the Stags hosting the Wellington Firebirds in Palmerston North; Northern Districts getting their belated campaign underway in Whangarei v Canterbury; and the rescheduling of the match between the Aces and Volts that was due to take place at Colin Maiden Park to be advised when re-arrangements have been made.

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