Otago Volts spark in front of their home crowd
The Otago Volts have marked their return to Molyneux Park in Alexandra in style with a crushing eight wicket Twenty20 win over Auckland in front of about 2150 people.
After a two year hiatus, top level domestic cricket returned to the traditional holiday venue and right from the outset the home side had this game by the scruff of the neck.
Otago captain Derek de Boorder chucked the ball the way of spinner Mark Craig for the first over the game and after just three balls he removed the dangerous Anaru Kitchen.
Auckland had a small spike in confidence when Jeet Raval took Jacob Duffy for 17 off an over, which included sixes off consecutive balls, but it was short lived.
At the other end veteran quick James McMillan had the Auckland batsmen in all sorts as he proceeded to bowl four exceptional overs which remarkably went for just eight runs.
Auckland couldn't get any momentum going as the impressive Otago attack - which was missing a host of frontline bowlers including Ian Butler, Neil Wagner, Nathan McCullum and Jimmy Neesham - put the squeeze on.
Duffy responded well after his difficult first over when he was brought back for a second spell taking two for eight off two overs to help mop up the tail.
Spinner Nick Beard also impressed, picking up a couple of wickets.
Auckland finished their innings with just 119 for nine which was a insult to a Molyneux Park pitch which played better than that score indicated.
Thankfully for local cricket officials and groundsman who had worked hard to get domestic cricket back to Alexandra, the Otago batsmen showcased just what could be done on the pitch.
They made light work of the run chase with openers Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom leading the way. Broom picked up 51 before he departed to format James Fuller for 51 while Rutherford was run out for 49.
Otago had eight wickets and 34 balls up their sleeve when they passed the target.
Otago Cricket boss Ross Dykes gave a big pass mark right from the win, to the standard of the pitch and on to the crowd support they attracted in Alexandra.
Menwhile in the other Twenty20 fixtures yesterday the Northern Knights grabbed a 25-run win over the Central Stags and the Wellington-Canterbury in Wellington was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of rain.