Wizards wary of bruised Northern Districts side

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014

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The Canterbury Wizards are banking on Northern Districts' horrendous batting display on Wednesday being little more than a blip, but warn they can also improve.

After humbling ND by six wickets, Canterbury tomorrow host ND, again at Hagley Oval, in the domestic one-day cricket 1 v 2 semifinal. The winner will host next Saturday's final while the loser gets a reprieve, playing against the winner of the 3 v 4 semi between Auckland and Wellington.

Canterbury captain Peter Fulton did not expect Wednesday's thumping to play on the ND batsmen's minds tomorrow, but that sort of carnage is hard to forget.

Northern Districts were 40-8 at one stage as Ryan McCone helped himself to the best domestic one-day figures by a Canterbury bowler, 6-19.

The ND batsmen looked like fish out of water, unable to handle the bounce or slight movement McCone and Hamish Bennett (3-16) were able to extract. They'd been playing on a slow, turning Seddon Park wicket in Hamilton and failed to adapt.

It was an ambush of sorts and one that no-one, the visitors included, saw coming. ND's Daniel Flynn had earlier won the toss and elected to bat.

But expect a much-improved performance from ND tomorrow who welcome back two New Zealand test players, Ish Sodhi and BJ Watling.

Watling will lengthen the batting line up while Sodhi adds another attacking threat with the ball.

While Hagley Oval has suited quicks, especially those able to bowl a probing length, it will also suit Sodhi's fast and bouncy legspin. But it's ND's batting which needed the emergency surgery.

''We're certainly expecting them to bat better than they did,'' Fulton said.

''We exploited what was in the wicket and Ryan bowled magnificently, but to get to 40-8 you need them to help you out a little and they did. But they'll bat better.''

While the Wizards' performance was impressive, it was their focus and attitude which impressed Fulton most and it's those he wants them to recreate tomorrow.

Tickets can be purchased from Canterbury Cricket's website or at the gate for $5.

TEAMS

Canterbury: Peter Fulton (c), Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis, Tom Latham, Cole McConchie, Ryan McCone, Matt McEwan, Henry Nicholls, Rob Nicol, George Worker.

Northern Districts: Daniel Flynn (c), Graeme Aldridge, Jono Boult, Joe Carter, Brett Hampton, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Anurag Verma, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, BJ Watling, Brad Wilson.

Tournament winner odds:Canterbury $2.30, Northern Districts $2.40, Auckland $6, Wellington $7.

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