Northern Knights quest powers up
Expect a bold approach from a Northern Knights team stacked with star performers when they start their Ford Trophy quest tomorrow.
The Knights meet the defending champion Central Stags in the first of eight one-dayers in the round-robin section of the competition that offers the last available title of the domestic season.
The visitors at Nelson's Saxton Oval will field an XI that boasts current Black Caps Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the currently out-of-favour Daniel Flynn, along with former internationals James Marshall, Graeme Aldridge and Brent Arnel.
Befitting a powerful lineup, SkyCity Knights coach Grant Bradburn wants his team to use their explosive weapons adroitly after working since the start of the year in planning their approach with one-day skipper Marshall.
''We've been working closely to build a gameplan that is familiar, because we've played some successful cricket in this format over recent years.
''So it's not a drastic change to how we want to play the game, there's some subtle but significant changes,'' said Bradburn, with an eye on the changes in the rules with the powerplays and restrictions on outfielders.
With hard-hitting left-handers Flynn and Anton Devcich likely to open the batting, the Knights will be looking to get plenty from the initial overs.
''We have skill sets right throughout the order and we'll be looking to optimise our opportunity to get some real good momentum at the start while we also respect that the basics of the game haven't changed,'' Bradburn said.
''Preservation of wickets through to the final overs does increase your chances of getting big scores and dramatically increases your winning percentages. But we're certainly looking to be fearless in the way we approach things with the bat.''
With Southee, Boult, Arnel, Aldridge and Anurag Verma comprising Northern's seam and swing attack, Bradburn also wants an attacking approach with the ball.
''Taking wickets throughout the traditional containing period are as valuable as containing runs. With our resources I think we'll be looking to be a little more pro-active in search of hunting wickets throughout that middle period.''
The hosts enter tomorrow's encounter boosted by winning the Plunket Shield first-class title.
They won the one-day crown last season in dramatic circumstances.
They should field a side that includes test stars Ross Taylor and Doug Bracwell.
Northern Knights: James Marshall (captain), Daniel Flynn, Anton Devcich, Kane Williamson, Brad Wilson, Daryl Mitchell, Cameron Fletcher, Tim Southee, Jono Boult, Anurag Verma, Graeme Aldridge, Trent Boult, Brent Arnel.