Wizards wary of talented former team-mate
If the Canterbury Wizards want to kick-start their Twenty20 campaign today in Timaru, they will need to curb the red-hot form of one of their former players to do it.
Wizards captain Tom Latham said the team would have to keep an eye on Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate in their match against the Otago Volts.
The 32-year-old won the T20 competition's most valuable player award when he played for the Wizards two years ago.
Since connecting with the Volts, the allrounder has scored 65 in their lone T20 win over Northern Districts, 60 not out against Wellington in the short-form of the game, and 118 and 54 not out in a four-day game against Central Districts.
The Wizards are winless in two T20 outings.
"I wouldn't say it's a must-win but we know we have made it tough on ourselves and will probably need to win six of the next seven games to have a realistic chance [of making the final]," Latham said
The Wizards lost by nine runs to the Auckland Aces last Friday night at Eden Park.
The bowlers conceded 197 runs in 20 overs, which proved too much for the batsmen to overhaul.
After going at almost 10 runs an over, Latham said the traditionally batsmen-friendly conditions at Aorangi Oval gave his bowlers the perfect stage to silence their critics.
"We've been there-or-there-abouts in our games.
"There will be small boundaries to protect, but hopefully the bowlers can respond and find a good length."
Latham said he was excited to have experienced players back like batsman Shanan Stewart and hard-hitting all-rounder Andrew Ellis.
He said the team was aware of the threat posed by ten Doeschate.
"Ryan's been on fire since turning out for them and we know we'll have to watch him."
"Hopefully the knowledge we have with the guys who played with him from his time here will come in handy."
Otago Volts coach Vaughn Johnson said while his import had been in top form, his side could not rely on him every game.
"He has been going really well, but what people need to realise is some time soon he's not going to come off, and that's when other guys in our team will step up."
While wet weather is expected in Timaru for the clash, Johnson said they refused to think about a shortened match because it was out of their control. The match starts at 2pm.
The Southland Times