The Otago Volts need to win and win well on Sunday against the Central Stags in Dunedin to secure a direct route to New Zealand cricket's domestic twenty20 final.
The Volts currently sit top of the table, one win clear of the next best teams but they have just the one game remaining while second placed Northern Knights still have two games to play.
The Knights also have a better net run-rate which will come into play if teams are locked on the same points at the end of round-robin play.
The top qualifier will progress straight to the final on January 18 while the second and third qualifiers from round-robin play will play-off on January 17 for the other finals spot.
Volts coach Vaughn Johnson wasn't getting all that worked up about the points table and net run rate yesterday when he spoke with The Southland Times.
"I'm not actually looking at the points, it's the old cliche - one game at a time, we've still got one to go and then we'll worry about it," he said.
Southland 19-year-old Jacob Duffy gave the Volts play-off chances a major boost when he delivered a superb final over against Wellington in Dunedin on Wednesday night. If they had lost the game they could have found themselves in a struggle to make the play-offs.
Wellington were chasing 205 for victory and they got it down to needing just seven off the last over for the win. Duffy restricted them to only five runs to claim victory.
Despite the win Johnson admitted he was a little disappointed with the overall bowling performance.
"The (boundary) ropes were in last night and I thought maybe 180 or 190 was probably par so we were just above par (with the bat). Our bowling execution wasn't as good as it could be apart from the last over that young Jacob bowled. That's what we should have been doing from overs 15 onwards."
The defending champions rise back to the top of the table is an impressive effort given the large number of players they have had away on international duties at various times this season. The Volts have also been missing key bowler Ian Butler who has been out with injury.
"I'm proud of the guys that have come in, in terms of filling those gaps, and now they've become regular members. It's created bigger depth for us but obviously having success and having guys selected for the Black Caps is great for the individual but not so great for the team. So what the players have done to get to this stage of the season win, lose or draw from here on in I'm very pleased with them."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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