Volts wired in to prized Indian contest
The Otago Volts are off to the bright cricketing lights of India.
Yesterday they capped off what has been an impressive and ruthless campaign when they beat the Wellington Firebirds in front of a sell-out crowd at the University Oval in Dunedin to win the 2012/13 New Zealand domestic Twenty20 title - the most lucrative of the country's three domestic cricket competitions.
The Dunedin-based organisation - which encompasses Southland, North Otago and the Otago Country areas - has been the standout team this season, with only one blemish in round one against Northern Districts.
But since then they won nine on the trot to confirm a home final and backed it up yesterday with another smart display.
It seemed only Jesse Ryder was standing in the way of the Volts winning this title and in the early moments of the game that scary factor started to rear its head.
Ryder effortlessly took 17 off the first over of the game from the bowling of 18-year-old Southlander Jacob Duffy.
Wickets at the other end did start to tumble as Wellington were reduced to 20 for three at one stage. But it was the first ball of the last over of the powerplay when the biggest play of the game arrived. Ryder skied an attempted pull shot from the bowling of Ian Butler, and Michael Bracewell showed calmness to get under it and take the catch.
Wellington were 42 for four and, most importantly, the competition's most dangerous player had done his dash.
The Volts shortened into red-hot favourites and while Harry Boam and Luke Woodcock did a good patchup job to help get their team through to 145, it was probably 3o runs short of where they had to be.
Some nerves were evident around the ground when in reply the Volts lost Hamish Rutherford and Aaron Redmond with the score on eight. However, Derek de Boorder and Neil Broom steadied the ship with a third-wicket partnership of 71.
Broom was the backbone of the run chase with his knock of 60, while overseas import Ryan ten Doeschate's 21 was handy.
Butler eventually put the dagger through Wellington hearts to finish them off with his 23 from 10 balls late in the game.
The win doesn't just mean they can call themselves 2012/13 New Zealand champions as preparations will now start for a shot at the Indian Champions League later in the year.
The Volts have qualified to represent New Zealand at the lucrative tournament which can open many doors.
There's not only some impressive prizemoney on offer but it also opens the Otago Cricket Association up to look at possible Indian sponsorship options throughout the tournament.
For the Volts players it is also an ideal chance to impress Indian Premier League scouts.
One of the players that will be excited about the chance to play in India is Southland's Duffy who, in his first full season in the national T20 competition, finished as second equal wicket taker in the competition.
Competition for places to play in the Indian Champions League will be fierce, with Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum and Brett Lee not playing in the final yesterday but options to play in the Indian tournament.
J Ryder c Bracewell b Butler 30
M Pollard c Broom b Fuller 0
M Papps c Duffy b Fuller 0
C Borgas c de Boorder b Duffy 0
L Ronchi c Fuller b Beard 14
T Doropoulos b Beard 5
H Boam c Craig b Duffy 35
L Woodcock not out 40
S Kuggeleijn c Redmond b Fuller 4
M Houghton b Fuller 6
Extras (lb 4, wd 5, nb 0) 9
Total (for 9wkts, 20.0 overs) 143
Fall: 19 (Pollard, 1.2), 20 (Papps, 1.6), 20 (Borgas, 2.4), 42 (Ryder, 5.1), 53 (Ronchi, 6.4), 54 (Doropoulos, 6.6), 126 (Boam, 18.1), 136 (Kuggeleijn, 19.2), 143 (Houghton, 19.6)
Bowling: J Duffy 4-0-45-2, J Fuller 4-0-24-4 (4w), R ten Doeschate 2-0-15-0 (1w), I Butler 4-0-26-1, N Beard 4-0-13-2, M Craig 2-0-16-0.
N Broom c Boam b Kuggeleijn 60
H Rutherford b Houghton 0
A Redmond c Kuggeleijn b Houghton 6
D de Boorder b Woodcock 33
R ten Doeschate c Ronchi b JD Ryder 21
M Bracewell run out (HKP Boam) 0
I Butler not out 23
J Fuller not out 0
Extras (lb 0, wd 2, nb 0) 2
Total (for 6 wkts, 18.3 overs) 145
Fall: 2 (Rutherford, 1.1), 8 (Redmond, 1.6), 79 (de Boorder, 11.6), 111 (ten Doeschate, 14.6), 112 (Bracewell, 15.2), 130 (Broom, 17.4)
Bowling: M Tugaga 4-0-23-0 (1w), M Houghton 4-0-30-2, J Ryder 3.3-0-25-1 (1w), S Kuggeleijn 3-0-24-1, L Woodcock 3-0-30-1, T Doropoulos 1-0-13-0.
The Southland Times