Death knell to Canterbury's hopes
Canterbury's Twenty20 campaign lies in shreds after yet another gut-wrenching loss by the narrowest possible margin to Otago at Aorangi Oval in Timaru yesterday.
The last-ball, one-run defeat was Canterbury's fourth loss from as many matches this season in the HRV Cup, almost certainly dispatching them from the championship before the halfway mark.
Canterbury's three most recent defeats have all been by just a handful of runs but that is scant consolation to last year's beaten finalists.
Otago had an uncompromising 61 from Michael Bracewell, and a calm final over from pace bowler Jacob Duffy to thank for guiding the Volts to their third win from four outings.
Bracewell, 21, took just 32 balls to amass his runs as the Volts made 196-7 from their 20 overs.
He hit three fours and four sixes and shared in a 101-run fifth wicket stand with Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate, who contributed 47.
However, Canterbury appeared to time their chase perfectly. They needed seven runs off the last over but gutsy bowling from Duffy restricted them to five and saw the Wizards finish on 195-7. Canterbury needed four off the last ball but Logan van Beek could manage only two.
Canterbury captain Tom Latham took a gamble on the overcast conditions and elected to bowl.
The Aorangi Oval boundary was peppered, with the Volts hitting 20 fours and eight sixes.
The Canterbury seamers struggled early and were conceding 10 runs an over for the first eight overs, although they were picking up wickets. The leg spin of Todd Astle helped effect a stumping and a run-out in consecutive balls of his first over.
The Volts staggered to 70-4 until ten Doeschate and Bracewell came together.
Brendon Diamanti bowled without luck for the Wizards. He went wicket-less but conceded 18 in his first three overs, before going for 13 in his last.
An 80-run second-wicket stand between George Worker (47) and Latham (39) had Canterbury ahead of the required run-rate after 10 overs.
The crucial wicket was that of Astle, who was caught by a sprawling ten Doeschate at point, for 26, off the first ball of the final over.
Canterbury next meet winless Central Districts in an away doubleheader at Nelson's Saxton Oval on January 1 and 3.
Points, with games played in parentheses: Northern 16 (5), Otago 12 (4), Wellington 12 (5), Auckland 8 (3), Canterbury 0 (4), Central 0 (3).