The Kings got their money’s worth, with interest, out of tough Aussie quick Ben Hilfenhaus when he delivered his maiden T20 five-wicket bag to save them in his final outing in royal purple.
His brilliant 5-23 was the difference in a riveting seven-run win for the Kings at Hagley Oval as they managed to clamp down on the Volts’s tail to shut them out of a thriller.
The Volts were fresh off their huge tally in New Plymouth and had been chasing the Kings’ 157 for seven after Kings captain Andy Ellis had opted to bat — Peter Fulton and Henry Nicholls leading the way with hands of 64 and 52 respectively, both of the knocks quick, explosive efforts that were studded with fours and sixes.
But the rest of the home side, bar Matt Henry’s 11 not out at the end, was restricted to single-figure scores as the Volts’ pace attack went on a collective wicket hunt — Christi Viljoen picking up three catches to go with his 2-25.
The Kings had been in all sorts of bother at 8/2 after Tom Latham’s fall, before Fulton and Nicholls piled on 109 for the third wicket.
But when Fulton tried to pull Viljoen at the end of the 14th over, the big stand ended in the hands of Sam Wells — and from there, things just fell apart for the Canterbury line-up with the bat.
The defence didn’t all go well, either, with Hilfenhaus burying his head in his hands after dropping a skier from the cracking Volts captain Hamish Rutherford.
He would make amends off his own bowling, however, having Rutherford caught on 38 by Henry.
Earlier, Michael Bracewell had matched that score before a yes-no calling catastrophe had seen him run out in the 12th over, and with Rutherford’s departure the chase was in the balance at 94 for five.
All five of Hilfenhaus’s victims were impressive batsmen —his haul also included the names of BLACKCAPS Neil Broom and Jimmy Neesham, and the talented young Josh Finnie as he picked up a brace in each of his last two overs.
Sucked of momentum, the Volts were left scrambling at the death but could only make it to 150 for nine in the last over clincher.
Hilfenhaus now returns to the Melbourne Stars while the Kings face the Volts again in a holiday special at Molyneux Park on Boxing Day.