Canterbury need a win against hapless Central
The Canterbury Wizards' two victories in must-win domestic Twenty20 cricket matches has bred confidence in the side.
And while they're still in fifth place in the six-team competition, a win today against bottom-placed Central Districts in New Plymouth would move them into third and leave their destiny in their own hands.
Three wash-outs and two losses from the first half of the 10-round competition left the side reeling. They were out of form, out of confidence and out of match practice.
Captain Peter Fulton said while the side boasts a strong batting line-up, it was the effort in the field in their 11-run win over Northern Districts in Mt Maunganui last week that provided the much-needed spark.
"Momentum and confidence are big things," he said.
"You can't afford to be hesitant or half-hearted no matter what you're doing, batting, bowling or fielding. We picked up a little bit of confidence from the Plunket Shield even though it's a different format, but we were still lacking a bit of confidence when we went to the Mount.
"We worked hard in the field and did well enough to get the win up there and I think that made a lot of difference against Auckland [on Sunday]."
Canterbury scored 201-6 against Auckland and won by 21 runs.
Canterbury have only completed one T20 match at Pukekura Park; they lost that match to CD by 76 runs seven years ago.
Still, there is plenty to be confident about; Rob Nicol looked to be more aggressive and comfortable on Sunday, Ronnie Hira bowled well without getting the results, Fulton, Tom Latham, Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis and Brendon Diamanti all struck the ball well and the bowling group, particularly Matt Henry, Ellis and Logan van Beek performed well.
Still, it's T20 and one player can take today's game away, and the side's season, away from them.
If they win today's match which will keep CD winless, Canterbury will have every chance of making the competition's top three playoffs.
The added bonus of a win today is it would make the team's final two matches - against Wellington on Friday and Northern Districts on Sunday, both at Hagley Oval - crucial earners for Canterbury Cricket.