Central Stags beat Otago Volts by 200 runs (DLS)
University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
6 February 2022
After a washout two days earlier at the same ground and a long wait to get on the park come today, the Central Stags made up for lost time by smashing a huge 300-plus total off reduced overs, then quickly blasted out five top Otago Volts wickets to ensure complete control of proceedings.
The Stags had been sent in after stand-in Volts captain Nick Kelly won the toss, in a game reduced to 37 overs per side after morning showers and an early lunch.
The toss, and an early wicket for Matt Bacon, was pretty much the last thing that went right for the Volts, as they lost strike bowler Michael Rae to a groin injury after just two overs and found their plans in disarray.
Bayley Wiggins, back in the Stags' squad for injured keeper-batsman Dane Cleaver, paired up with Will Young - fresh off a century in the previous round, and the two set up the Stags' innings superbly with a blistering 111-run stand for the second wicket.
Those 111 runs flew off just 66 balls as Wiggins clocked in with a half century and Young played shots of class and confidence, and took 22 runs all by himself off just the eighth over.
But they were just getting warmed up.
Young departed after a 26-ball 40, Wiggins following him in next over for 80 at 140/3, and then the Volts made it three in three with Tom Bruce coming and going in the next.
But after that mini-fightback, Ross Taylor settled things down for the Stags as he eased to 45 and then, after Taylor departed in the 32nd over, Doug Bracewell and Adam Milne went ballistic at the death, with Milne's career-best, unfettered knock of 50 off 21 balls - his maiden one-day fifty - including five sixes.
He had reached the half ton off just 18 of those deliveries: the second fastest Stags Ford Trophy fifty after captain Bruce's 16-ball New Zealand record in The Ford Trophy Final of 2016 at Pukekura Park.
The Stags blasted 14 sixes in all in their total of 314 for seven: a total that would have been more than respectable in a 50-over match, let alone a 37-over one.
Milne and Seth Rance then came out swinging with the ball, knocking over the first five Volts wickets inside just 7.2 overs.
Rance was a dangerous proposition as he swung the ball, sitting on early figures of 3-8.
Meanwhile, Milne had the first wicket in Dale Phillips caught behind, then blasted out the big wicket of Neil Broom for not many.
The Volts sorely missed the presence of Hamish Rutherford for this match, the experienced captain's second child having just arrived, but did a fair job of fighting back from 24/5 thanks to a 48-run partnership between gutsy Max Chu (31) and Anaru Kitchen (18).
But then Doug Bracewell went bang-bang in the 17th over, putting himself on an unconverted hat-trick for the second consecutive game.
It was always going to take a miraculous effort for the hosts to rescue the chase, and the Stags were having none of it, wrapping up a big 200-run victory in just the 24th over (the Volts nine down, with Michael Rae unable to bat) to stay undefeated after five rounds and pick up their third bonus points from as many wins.
Remarkably for a reduced overs game, that was their equal third highest List A one-day winning margin, after their highest ever Ford Trophy total away at Uni Oval. For the Volts, it was their equal largest ever defeat - and uncannily, all three of those 200-run losing margins were against the Stags.