Taranaki rain scotched an intriguing chase at Yarrow Stadium, putting the SBS Bank Otago Volts straight into Sunday’s Georgie Pie Super Smash Grand Final.
The Volts progress by virtue of having been the top qualifier in the regular season, after tonight’s Qualifying Final against the Mondiale Auckland Aces had to be abandoned after the first innings.
Sent in by Aces captain Rob Nicol, the Volts had responded with confidence courtesy of an unbeaten, 66-ball 91 from Hamish Rutherford, who carried his bat for a T20 career best in his first appearance at Yarrow Stadium.
Colin de Grandhomme pocketing two fine catches for his evening's work, Nicol picked up a coveted wicket in Michael Bracewell with his final delivery to finish with the best figures of 2-20, having rotated his attack at the outset before looking to clamp Rutherford down against twin spin through the middle.
But Rutherford was unperturbed and had survived an early runout scare to contribute the bulk of the Volts’ tally of 165/5, his imposing knock on a two-paced surface including seven boundaries and four sixes.
While his teammates did not emulate his score, they mirrored his confident striking and the challenge had been firmly laid down to the power-packed Aces order. However, light rain at the interval steadily grew stronger, eventually forcing an abandonment at 9.45pm without the covers coming off.
As second qualifiers, the Aces now face the Elimination Final tomorrow night at the same venue, where they will meet third qualifiers the Canterbury Kings in a sudden-death encounter.
All Finals are televised LIVE on SKY Sport 7.10pm and livescored at blackcaps.co.nz