Northern Districts win domestic T20 final
Mitchell and Kuggeleijn see Knights homeAARON GOILE
Northern Districts have won their first domestic Twenty20 title and a spot at the qualification tournament for the lucrative Champions League after beating Otago the in the final at Hamilton's Seddon Park.
Having posted a relatively low 143-5, Otago looked a good chance to defend it, but some spilt chances and some fine ND stroke play saw the Knights home by five wickets.
Top qualifiers Otago, who hadn't played for 10 days, won the toss on a slow pitch, and started well with a brisk opening stand of 40 between Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom, before a bad mix up had Rutherford short of his ground.
Scott Styris and Ish Sodhi then kept things quiet, as Broom (44 off 38) combined well with Dutch import Ryan ten Doeschate, with the pair pushing singles and showing controlled power, before Broom mis-timed a pull shot to long-on.
Otago sent out their one-game import - West Indies seamer Jason Holder - to up the ante, but Scott Kuggeleijn quickly disturbed his poles and soon after ten Doeschate (36 off 24) holed out at long-on.
Michael Bracewell and captain Derek de Boorder batted till the end but couldn't manage much more than a run a ball, as Styris showed all his wares in finishing with the very tidy figures of 1-16 off his four.
In reply the Knights got going quickly with 19 off two overs, but things turned dramatically in the third over as Flynn pulled Holder straight to Nick Beard in the deep then two balls later Anton Devcich pulled round the corner but was taken well by James McMillan at short fine leg.
When McMillan got one to nip through the gate of Brad Wilson, the Knights were 24-3.
Daryl Mitchell (46 not out off 42) and BJ Watling (37 off 30) consolidated with a handy 57 for the fourth wicket.
Watling was given a huge let off in the eighth over when he hit ten Doeschate to long-on and Holder put down the easiest of chances.
He made Otago pay with two fours and two sixes from the next two overs, but just as Watling looked like going on with it, he holed out to deep cover in Jacob Duffy's first over.
The dropsies continued for the Volts as wicketkeeper de Boorder put down a regulation caught behind with Styris on zero, before Duffy produced a great over that went for just one.
However, the pressure on Northern eased when Holder returned in the 16th over, immediately offering up a full toss which Mitchell smoked for six, then two balls later Styris flicked round the corner for another half dozen.
Styris holed out to deep square in the next over and that brought in Kuggeleijn, who pumped Duffy straight for six, then four, leaving the Knights needing 15 from the last two overs.
When Mitchell scooped Holder for four, ND were almost home, then Kuggeleijn (22 not out off 7) smashed a straight six to wrap it up with an over to spare.
- Fairfax Media