Finalists of the last season of Super Smash will be clashing again to begin the 2019-20 season!
We are backing Central Stags for the win!
The finalists of the last season of Super Smash League will be clashing again in the first match of the 2019-20 season. Last year, Central Stags had defeated Northern Knights to win the final by 67 runs. The two teams will be at it again to commence the exciting New Zealand T20 league.
Defending champions Central Stags will be high on confidence to start the new season. They have been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament and have won the title thrice while ending as runners-up on as many occasions. Captain Tom Bruce has a solid bunch of players and there is much to look forward to from this team. Last season, they finished third on the points table with 5 wins and 4 losses.
Northern Knights, meanwhile, are one of the top teams of the league as well. They are two-time champions and two-time runners-up and had topped the points table at the end of the league stage with 7 wins from 10 matches.
The two teams have shared a healthy rivalry over the years and we will have a cracker of a game to start the new season.
Central Stags have a solid team at their disposal. In the batting department, they had the experienced Ross Taylor to guide the team. However, with Taylor away for national duty, the onus will now fall on captain Tom Bruce, along with George Worker, Will Young, and Josh Clarkson.
Tom Bruce is one of the batting superstars of the Super Smash League. Last season, he had led from the front and was the tournament's second-highest run-getter with 353 runs at a great strike-rate of 157.58. Will Young too is a solid top-order batsman for the team who did well last season. These few will be counted on to do the bulk of the scoring in the season opener.
The Stags also have a pretty neat bowling unit. The experienced fast bowler Doug Bracewell lends them much stability at the start. Seth Rance, Blair Tickner, Adam Milne, and Ajaz Patel are the other bowlers who complete a well-stocked bowling unit for the Stags. Blair Tickner had a terrific last season and was one of the leading wicket-takers with 16 wickets. Ajaz Patel's left-arm spin is certain to come in handy too.
Will Young, George Worker, Dean Foxcroft, Tom Bruce (c)*, Dane Cleaver (wk), Dough Bracewell, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Adam Milne, Seth Rance, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner
Dane Cleaver, Willem Ludick, Josh Clarkson, Ajaz Patel, George Worker, Christian Leopard, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Seth Rance, Ben Wheeler, Tom Bruce, Ryan Watson
The Northern Knights will again be one of the fancied teams of the tournament. The two-time champions were the table-toppers in the last season and had won the trophy the season before that. Thus, you can expect the Knights to be delivering another sound performance this season.
They have quite a balanced squad this season with good strengths in both the batting and bowling departments. Corey Anderson, captain Dean Brownlie, Tim Seifert and Daryl Mitchell will be the batting stars to watch out for the Knights. Although they will certainly feel the absence of Colin de Grandhomme. Daryl Mitchell was one of the top run-getters in the last season with 323 runs and the middle-order batsman is likely to hold the key again for the team.
In the bowling department, the Knights have been dented as Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Mitchell Santner are away for national duties. However, Scott Kuggeleijn, who was the leading wicket-taker for the team with 13 wickets will once again be eager to lead the charge. Ish Sodhi's off-spin will also play a crucial role.
Tim Seifert, Nick Kelly, Dean Brownlie (c), Daryl Mitchell, Corey Anderson, Daniel Flynn, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Brett Hampton, Anton Devcich, Henry cooper
Peter Bocock, Ish Sodhi, Anurag Verma, Scott Kuggeleijn, Anton Devcich, Brett Hampton, Joe Carter, Matthew Fisher, Dean Brownlie, Daryl Mitchell, Daniel Flynn
McLean Park, Napier, is known to be a good batting surface with something in it for the seam bowlers when the pitch is fresh. The batsmen will enjoy the hardness of the surface and hitting through the line. The weather at Napier on the match day is expected to be sunny and nice. Expect a full game.
McLean Park in Napier has been one of the more popular grounds in New Zealand. The average score batting first here is 191 and thus it's always been a high-scoring ground. The highest T20 total achieved here is a whopping 241 by England v New Zealand in November 2019.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first as this is a good bat-first venue. Putting a good total and then dictating the game will be the plan.
Defending champions Central Stags will certainly be high on confidence when they take on Northern Knights at home to open the new season of the Super Smash League.
Interestingly, in the last 5 games between the two sides, the Stags have won twice while the Knights have won 3 games. They have clearly had an intense rivalry over the years and we are in for a great contest in this very first game. Playing at home, and with the confidence of being the defending champions, the Central Stags will begin as favorites for this game. They appear to have more balance and will have the edge in this game.
We are backing Central Stags for the win!