Central Stags to win
Our prediction is Central Stags to win!
The latest match in the Burger King Super Smash sees two sides in contrasting form up against one another. Central Stags are in the play-off positions and seeking to firm up that position in the second half of the campaign. The Kings, however, have only won once and remain at the bottom of the table.
These two sides will meet twice in six days having not yet played against each other this season. They shared a win apiece in a similar situation last season when the Stags won in Nelson but the Kings won in Rangiora. Since 2007 when they first started playing T20 cricket, the Kings have an 11-8 head-to-head lead. However, in Christchurch, either at the Hagley Oval or elsewhere, both sides have taken two wins apiece.
The Super Smash has been a struggle for the Kings, with their only win coming courtesy of a five-wicket success against Auckland Aces in a low-scoring affair. They started with a five-wicket defeat to Otago, unable to defend 184, then came the win over Auckland. However, since that they have suffered two straight losses, a 65-run hammering by Wellington Firebirds, then losing a close one by two wickets to Northern Knights.
While they have been putting the runs on the board, with a couple of scores well in excess of 180, they have struggled to defend those scores. They also leaked 200 against the Firebirds so it is clear they have issues on the bowling front and need to try to tighten things up against the Stags. That is despite Kyle Jamieson breaking the New Zealand T20 record with a haul of 6-7 against the Aces. The Kings badly need more of that if they are to keep their hopes alive.
Tom Latham, Chad Bowes, Stephen Murdoch, Cole McConchie (c), Andrew Ellis, Cameron Fletcher (wk), Leo Carter, Henry Shipley, Kyle Jamieson, Jeremy Benton, Edward Nuttall
The Stags began their campaign strongly with a five-wicket win over Northern Knights before they went down by the same margin to Auckland Aces. They then suffered a heavy defeat to Wellington Firebirds and their game against Otago Volts was abandoned. They responded brilliantly when playing the Volts again, putting up a score of 208-7 on their way to a 54-run win.
So far, then the Stags have blown hot and cold. When they are good and it all comes together, they have the measure of any team. On the other hand, they have proved capable of falling apart, so which Stags team will turn up?
George Worker, Will Young, Dean Foxcroft, Tom Bruce (c), Josh Clarkson, Dane Cleaver (wk), Kieran Noema-Barnett, Willem Ludick, Ben Wheeler, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner
The weather forecast this weekend in Christchurch is poor. Wet on Friday, dry on Saturday and then wet on Sunday. With a lot of cloud cover around and moisture that will slow down the pitch and could make run-scoring difficult. With rain around in the afternoon and evening, it may also be a rain-affected match.
The Hagley Oval is only very rarely used as an international venue and in fact hasn’t been since 2014, but it has become the home of the Canterbury Kings. There have been 15 Twenty20 matches played here with the side batting first having the advantage on most occasions. The average score batting first before this season was 155, although that was well beaten when the Kings posted 193 against the Knights in the only game here this season.
The last three games in the tournament have seen the side winning the toss choosing to bowl first, perhaps mindful of weather conditions and preferring to bat second in a shortened game. The Kings have both batted and fielded first after winning the toss with their only win coming after they chose to chase. The Stags, meanwhile, have also preferred to field, even if they won after being put in last time out. With the bad weather around, we would expect the captain winning the toss to choose to field.
On the face of it, the Central Stags should be too strong for a Canterbury Kings outfit that has yet to really get going in this competition. While Kyle Jamieson remains a threat, the rest of the bowling has not really backed him up and the Stags’ batting ought to be strong enough to take advantage. The Kings do have a good record at home and at this venue, which must be taken into account, but recent form suggests this should be a win for the Stags.
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