Ryder masterclass for backs-to-wall Volts
The Otago Volts have set a runs-total record at Queens Park in Invercargill, an achievement that also keeps their 2014 domestic one-day hopes alive.
The southern side took on Auckland in Invercargill today knowing they needed to win their remaining three games in the competition to give themselves a play-off hope, and their batsmen in particular played like their season was on the line.
After losing the toss and being sent in by Auckland, Otago amassed an impressive 332 for six from their 50 overs.
That total eclipsed the previous best New Zealand domestic one-day score at Queens Park - 309 scored by Wellington last season.
The foundation was laid by openers Aaron Redmond and Hamish Rutherford, who themselves added another record to the day – their opening stand of 165 surpassed Otago's previous best opening partnership of 154, scored by Andrew Hore and Robbie Lawson against Wellington in the 2001/2002 season.
When Redmond departed for 87, Rutherford remained the rock of the innings, pushing on to 108.
But it was a certain world-class left-handed batsman who played a key role in pushing his team well past 300 and, in turn, thrilling the small number of spectators who attended. They were rewarded by another Jesse Ryder master-class.
Ryder's 78 from 45 balls included 11 fours and three sixes, and he made it look effortless.
Ryan ten Doeschate also contributed an important cameo with his 28 from 17 balls as he and Ryder put on 69 runs in 5.4 overs.
As Auckland munched away on their lunch in the Queens Park Pavilion and contemplated the 333 needed for victory, the rain fell on Otago's parade.
It cleared long enough for Auckland to be 17 for none after seven overs in a tentative start, but rain again fell.
After another stint in the pavilion play restarted and this time Auckland had the reduced target of 279 needed from 39 overs.
Auckland never looked all that interested as opener Tim McIntosh soaked up balls before eventually being nicked out for 29 from 49 balls – one of the victims in Sam Wells' five-wicket haul.
Donovan Grobbelaar produced some entertainment late in the innings with his 54 from 39 balls but Auckland were always struggling.
They were eventually bowled out for 235 as play finished in close to darkness at Queens Park.
The Volts and Auckland will now meet again, this time in Auckland on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in other domestic one-day action yesterday, Wellington beat Northern Districts by three wickets.
Batting first, Northern posted 215 thanks mostly to Daniel Flynn's unbeaten 122 but Wellington surpassed the total with three wickets in hand and 15 balls to spare.
In the third game yesterday, Canterbury beat Central Districts by 64 runs.