Our prediction is that Otago Volts will win the match against Central Stags in the 14th match of the tournament.
Central Stags and Otago Volts will feature in the 14th match of the 14th Edition of Super Smash, a domestic T20 competition in New Zealand. This match will be played at McLean Park, Napier which is home ground for the Stags.
After three matches and a washout each, Otago Volts have managed to be among the top three teams of the tournament whereas Central Stags find themselves second from the last in the points table. This is the second match between these two teams in this season with the earlier match being washed out on last Sunday.
The Volts had a good start to the tournament with a couple of wins. A loss to Northern Districts and a washout against the Stags have spoilt their numbers a bit. Central Stags, on the other hand, are facing batting issues and would look to improve in this match at home.
The Central Stags have been a strong team in the recent years of Super Smash tournament having reached the final twice in the last two seasons. Overall, they have reached the finals 5 times and won twice in the previous 13 seasons.
The Stags started this season with a thumping win over defending champions Northern Knights by 5 wickets. However, a couple of batting failures, against Auckland Aces and Wellington Firebirds, and a washout against the Volts have blunted their campaign down so far in this season.
Central Stags would need to apply themselves better, especially in batting, to have any chance of winning against the Volts. They would be hoping for a repeat of good performances captain Tom Bruce and bowler Tickner who had them achieve the only win in the series so far.
TC Bruce (c), D Cleaver, GH Worker, WA Young, JA Clarkson, DAJ Bracewell, K Noema-Barnett, BM Wheeler, SHA Rance, FJM Murray, BM Tickner
Otago Volts announced themselves this season with a win over Canterbury. In a high scoring game, they chased down a steep target of 185 in the 20th over with 5 wickets in hand. The top order did the bulk of the scoring with Hamish Rutherford and Anaru Kitchen top scoring in the match for the Volts.
In the next match, Otago Volts won a thriller against Wellington Firebirds by just 1 run thanks to another handy contribution with the bat by Anaru Kitchen, who top scored with 52, and then commendable effort from Christi Viljoen who took 4 for 23 defending 167.
The next two matches resulted in a loss, because of sub-par batting against the defending champions Northern Knights, and a washout against the Stags making Otago Volts get 10 points after 4 games. As the situation stands a win at McLean Park would go a long way for the Volts to secure a place in the playoffs.
JA Duffy (c), NT Broom, HD Rutherford, AK Kitchen, S Hicks, JL Finnie, OB Cox, MJG Rippon, C Viljoen, NG Smith, JS Hunter
Not many matches have happened at the McLean Park stadium in the Super Smash League over the years. The last match that happened here was back in 2016 season between, incidentally, Otago Volts and Central Stags.
The conditions here do not aid high scoring. The team winning the Toss should look to Bowl first to utilize the early help on offer and then have a go at the target in easing conditions.
Otago Volts and Central Stags are very similar teams in terms of overall record at the Super Smash League. Both teams have reached the Finals five times and have each won it twice. Although Central Stags have good records in recent years, the Volts have performed better this season.
There is not much to choose between the two teams however based on current form and team combinations our prediction is that Otago Volts will narrowly topple Central Stags to maintain their spot in the top 3 teams of the tournament at Napier on Thursday.
We are backing Otago Volts for the win!
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