Wellington coach Jamie Siddons has played down the importance of power-hitting opener Jesse Ryder heading into today's HRV Cup final against Otago, saying his side has got plenty of firepower to topple the competition's form team.
Ryder has blazed a competition-leading 508 runs in the provincial Twenty20 tournament this summer, and has more often than not notched big scores in the matches that Wellington have won.
But Siddons poured cold water on comments that his side depend on the former Black Cap for a victory.
"I'd love to take [Ryan] ten Doeschate out of the Otago line-up too," Siddons said.
"It's a bit of a joke that people could say things like that. You take the best player out of anyone's team and you struggle, I think."
Otago will be favourites in today's final, after breezing through the competition with nine wins from 10 matches.
Yet Siddons said past form is now irrelevant in a winner-takes-all final that will see the HRV Cup champion given a qualifying spot in the lucrative Twenty20 Champions League, held in South Africa this year.
"It's a 50-50 contest now," he said.
"They've been sitting on their butts for a week, and we've just had a really intense final.
"It will come down to who gets going well, and who executes properly on the day. To be honest, I think they will be a bit nervous.
"It would be a great little prize if we can get over the line," he said of the Champions League spot.
"I don't think anyone has really thought about that yet - it's really about winning the final.
"We're going into it with some really good performances under our belts."
Otago and Wellington have met twice over the summer, with the southern men winning both encounters, by 82 runs in Dunedin and 12 in Wellington.
- Sunday Star Times
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