Wizards win with record runs chase

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014

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It took their highest successful run-chase but Canterbury got their wish. 

The Wizards' thrilling, final-over defeat of Otago in Dunedin yesterday jumped them into the top two of the domestic one-day cricket competition and left the Volts  cemented to the foot of the table. 

Set a daunting 328 to win, Canterbury reached their target with four balls to spare, to secure a four-wicket win.

Canterbury have scored more runs  against Otago - 410-5 on Timaru's tiny Aorangi Oval in 2009 - but this was their highest-ever successful chase. 

Otago's 327-9 was the highest domestic (or international) 50-over score on University Oval, and  then Canterbury went and bettered it. And they always believed the target was gettable, said the match's top scorer, Canterbury opener George Worker. 

Worker scored a patient and crucial 82, which Canterbury's chase was based around.

He and Tom Latham (50 off 53) added 97 for the first wicket before valuable contributions from the rest of the lineup had them keep their target in sight then tick it off with a Todd Astle boundary in the last over. 

Rob Nicol (26 off 29), Dean Brownlie (49 off 36), Peter Fulton (52no off 34), Henry Nicholls (22 off 17) and Andrew Ellis (21 off 17) all weighed in.

''We knew it was a big target but we sort of felt like we always had it under control,'' Worker said.

''We got off to a good start like we knew we needed to, then Beardy [Nick Beard] and Jesse [Ryder] bowled well; they bowled quick, economical overs in the middle to get them right back in it. Then all the guys chipped in. It would have been nice to get there a couple of overs earlier so it wasn't so nervous watching, but we're pretty rapt with the win.''

Canterbury needed 53 from the final five overs but scored 11, 12, nine and 14 off the next four to put the game beyond doubt.

''It was never going to be easy, I mean 330 is a big score, but we always backed ourselves,'' Worker said.

''The game has changed so much through Twenty20, with only four fielders out of the [30m] circle then a powerplay with only three. 

''We just had to take it step by step and we did.''

Earlier, Otago's 327-9 was given a huge starting boost by a 129-run opening partnership between former Canterbury player Iain Robertson (76 off 57) and  test opener Hamish Rutherford (73 off 89), then half-centuries to Derek de Boorder and Ryan ten Doeschate. Ellis and Matt McEwan both took three wickets apiece for Canterbury.

The win lifts Canterbury to second on the six-team table, one point clear of Central Districts and previous leader Auckland. 

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Otago are last on   four points and in danger of missing the top four. 

The top four teams make the semifinals  but the top two receive an extra life. 

Canterbury's next game is against Auckland on Saturday in Auckland. 

In other matches, 156 from Jamie How helped Central Districts reach 303-7 against Auckland at Eden Park's outer oval. CD then skittled their hosts for   190 to win by 113 runs and pick up a bonus point. 

Wellington nearly pulled off a big comeback against Northern Districts in the capital. 

After scoring only 154, Wellington had ND seven down before the visitors knocked off the final runs to win by three wickets.

- The Press

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