Wizards wary of import's impact
If the Canterbury Wizards want to kick-start their Twenty20 campaign today in Timaru, they will need to stop one of their former players' red-hot form to do it.
Wizards captain Tom Latham stopped short of calling the match against the Otago Volts a must-win, but said the team would have to keep an eye on Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate.
The 32-year-old was the T20 competition's most valuable player award when he played for the Wizards two years ago.
Since connecting with the Volts, the all-rounder has scored 65 against Northern Districts and 60 not out off 29 balls against Wellington in Otago's two T20 wins. He also scored 118 and 54 not out in a four-day game against Central Districts.
His form is a bad sign for the Wizards who are winless in three T20 outings.
"I wouldn't say it's a must-win but we know we have made it tough on ourselves and will probably need to win six of the next seven games to have a realistic chance [of making the final]," Latham said
The Wizards lost by nine runs to the Auckland Aces last Friday night at Eden Park. The bowlers conceded 197 runs in 20 overs, which proved too many for the batsmen to overhaul.
After going at almost 10 runs an over, Latham said the traditionally batsmen-friendly conditions at Aorangi Oval gave his bowlers the perfect stage to silence their critics.
"We've been there-or-there-abouts in our games. There will be small boundaries to protect, but hopefully the bowlers can respond and find a good length."
Latham said he was excited to have some experienced players back, such as batsman Shanan Stewart and hard-hitting all-rounder Andrew Ellis.
He said the team was aware of the threat posed by their former team-mate.
"Ryan's been on fire since turning out for them and we know we'll have to watch him.
"Hopefully the knowledge we have with the guys who played with him from his time here will come in handy."
Otago Volts coach Vaughn Johnson said while his import had been in top form, his side could not rely on him in every game.
"He has been going really well, but what people need to realise is some time soon he's not going to come off and that's when other guys in our team will step up."
While wet weather is expected in Timaru for the clash, Johnson said the Volts refused to think about a shortened match because it was out of their control.
The match starts at 2pm.
- The Timaru Herald