It was a day for the bowlers at an overcast Molyneux Park as the Kings claimed an important 16-run win over the Otago Volts in the McDonald’s Super Smash.
Only one batsman passed 35 as the seamers and spinners alike enjoyed the Alexandra conditions to create a low-scoring contest.
On many tracks, Canterbury’s 152/8 would be a below-par total, but an accurate and potent bowling display restricted the Volts to 136/8, as none of the batsmen could get into a rhythm.
The best innings of the day came from the man who faced the first ball – Kings opener Chad Bowes.
Bowes had been dismissed for a duck in his last two outings, but came good with 54 from 39 balls, anchoring the innings after the Kings lost the early wickets of Cam Fletcher and Henry Nicholls.
While Bowes was productive, none of his Kings teammates could match him, captain Andy Ellis (23 from 18) the only other player to reach 20.
Ellis goes for 23 as the Volts take their 5th wicket. Volt man is clearly loving it. Kings 108/5. pic.twitter.com/l421Y6GXfm— Otago Volts (@OtagoVolts) December 26, 2016
All of the Volts bowlers had a part to play. Neil Wagner led from the front again with 2-20 from his four overs, while Christi Viljoen (1-23 from four) and Sam Wells (2-21 from three) kept the Kings in check.
The Otago young guns contributed, too. Josh Finnie was economical, while 18-year old Nathan Smith, back from the Under-19 National tournament, claimed his first T20 wicket on McDonald's Super Smash debut with the vital scalp of Bowes.
However, what looked to have been a very chaseable target for the Volts quickly became tricky as openers Anaru Kitchen and Hamish Rutherford fell in the first two overs.
Michael Bracewell (a run-a-ball 21), Finnie (26 from 29) and Brad Wilson (22 from 25) tried to resurrect the innings, but were tied down by the Kings bowling attack as the asking rate quickly climbed.
New import Tom Beaton was trapped in front by Todd Astle for a first-ball duck, with Astle the star performer, putting himself on a hat-trick and ending with just 2-16 from his four overs, stemming the Volts’ attempts to up their run rate.
Kyle Jamieson was also excellent with 2-19 from his four overs, while Ellis went for just 11 runs from three.
Viljoen was the only Volt to attack at a high clip, making an unbeaten 34 from 22 balls, but by then it was too late as the Kings snared the win to leapfrog the Volts into third on the McDonald's Super Smash ladder.
The Volts will have a chance to gain back their shot at a playoff spot when they play the Wellington Firebirds at the same venue on Wednesday, while the Kings travel to Mount Maunganui for a Thursday showdown with the Knights.