The Canterbury Wizards spread the workload to earn a HRV Cup Twenty20 win over the Otago Volts by six runs in Timaru today.
A number of Wizards players fronted as 14 sixes peppered their robust 198 for seven at Aorangi Oval, to which the Volts responded with a spirited 192 for eight on the back of a sparking 77 off 45 balls from Neil Broom.
Opener Rob Nicol set the tone for the home side by striking 44 off 26 balls, including four sixes, and his forthright approach was replicated by Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis and to a lesser degree Peter Fulton as the Wizards posted a challenging total.
Brownlie and Ellis also smacked four sixes apiece as they made 38 off 15 and 33 off 12, respectively, to ensure the Wizards maintained a healthy clip throughout their innings on a ground boasting shortish boundaries.
Few of the Volts bowlers escaped punishment although spinner Nick Beard kept it tight to claim one for 21 off his four overs and offspinner Nathan McCullum played his part to take two for 30 off four.
The Volts’ chase looked highly promising at 39 without loss in the fourth over before Brendon McCullum and Aaron Redmond departed off successive deliveries from young seamer Matt Henry.
McCullum made 21 off 12 balls before scooping Henry to mid on and Redmond, on 18 off 11, did exactly the same off the very next ball.
Broom set about resurrecting the Volts with a career best Twenty20 innings but Henry returned in a later spell to put a spoke in the Volts’ wheel as he removed Broom, who had hit nine fours and two sixes, and Jimmy Neesham for 17 off consecutive balls.
Henry ended with four for 43 off his four overs but it was left to Pakistani Yasir Arafat to close the deal when the Volts required 11 off the final over.
Arafat was up to the mark, taking a wicket and conceding only four runs to finish with one for 36, while Nicol completed a fine double by taking two for 36.