Our prediction is that Northern Knights will win against Central Districts Stags in the opening game of the latter.
The domestic T20 tournament of New Zealand is underway which is played among six domestic teams. Super Smash is being played since 2005. The tournament consists of a double round-robin stage with three teams playing the playoffs in the knockout stage. The finals will be held on 17th February 2019.
The finalist of the last edition in 2017, Northern Knights and Central Districts are up against each other in the fourth group stage game at Bay Oval. The previous encounter between the two teams had ended up in a nightmare for Central Districts where they could manage a meagre 99 in allotted 20 overs and could defend the score just until the 9th over. Central Districts must be hoping for a better game this time around whereas Knights would be hoping for a similar walk over.
The defending champions had a great start to the tournament. After losing the toss and being asked to bat first they piled on 215 in 20 overs on the back of a smashing inning by captain Brownlie who missed out on a century by a whisker. Mitchell Santner coming back from an injury played reasonably well in all departments. Anton Devcich starred with the ball to take 4 for 27 to defeat Wellington by a massive 45 run deficit.
The Northern Knights would go against the Central Districts at Bay Oval with happy memories of defeating them in one of the most comprehensive victories in the Super Smash finals in the last edition. Barring any injury concerns the Knights would be looking play the same XI that played in the opening game against Wellington.
Anton Devcich, Santner and Ish Sodhi are the key players for the Knights along with captain DG Brownlie who is in top form with the bat.
DG Brownlie (c), TL Seifert (wk), AP Devcich, DR Flynn, BR Hampton, DJ Mitchell, MJ Santner, PD Bocock, SC Kuggeleijn, IS Sodhi, BG Randell.
Central districts would play their opening game of the current edition Super Smash tournament against the defending champions Northern Knights. After doing the hard yards and reaching the finals by defeating Auckland Aces in the eliminator of the previous edition of Super Smash, Central Districts imploded in the finals against Northern Knights to lose it in 8.5 overs.
Looking at the way Knights beat Wellington the other day, Central Districts must be wary of the opposition they are facing in their first match of the tournament. Their record in the last five games against the knights isn’t great either. In last 5 head-to-head games, Knights have won 3, lost 1 and one match ended in no-result.
Captain Will Young along with Jesse Ryder and New Zealand’s new Test star and spinner Ajaz Patel are Central Districts key players.
WA Young (c), GH Worker, JD Ryder, TC Bruce, D Cleaver, JA Clarkson, BM Wheeler, BJ Small, SHA Rance, AY Patel, BM Tickner.
The conditions are Bay Oval are flat aiding the high scoring. Teams batting first in the two games in the last edition of Super Smash ended up winning the match by scoring more than 200. Tim Seifert of Northern Districts has scored the fastest century in a domestic T20 match in New Zealand at this venue.
Teams winnings the toss should look to Bat first here and pile on as many runs on the board as possible and then have the bowlers use the scoreboard pressure against the chasing team.
The defending champions Northern Knights look in great shape. Knights have a very strong batting line up and are making a habit of scoring at a hefty rate in Super Smash. Central Districts don’t do that badly at this venue either, but Knights’ overall combination seems to have that edge that should see them through in the contest against the Central Districts. Thus, our prediction is that the Knights will narrowly edge ahead at Bay Oval to get their second win of Super Smash 2018.
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