PHOTOSPORT

Knights exit with win

A century stand between Knights captain Anton Devcich and Scott Kuggeleijn proved the difference in Dunedin as the Knights completed their 2020/21 campaign with a well executed 36-run win.

After having regained a slew of their BLACKCAPS stars, it had been a stellar run through the back end of the competition, but came too late to get them into the Finals with the last of the three spots having been taken the previous day.

The Volts meanwhile had started strong, but slumped badly tbrough the back end of the campaign to finish out of the running.

Devcich had won the toss and batted at Uni Oval, and Tim Seifert and Katene Clarke both made a fast start through the power play.

But the Knights had looked in a spot of uncertainty at 68 for four upon Colin de Grandhomme's departure, the innings in the balance.

Devcich had barely faced a ball in the preceding two overs, but now took over the strike and, after losing partner Mitch Santner, quickly recombined with Kuggeleijn.

That pairing then went ballistic at the death, Kuggeleijn thumping back to back sixes off Michael Rippon and Devcich giving Jacob Duffy the same treatment in the 17th.

The captain reached his 50 off just 32 balls (3x4, 4x6) en route to an unbeaten 75* off 40, while Kuggeleijn was run out off the second to last ball of the innings for a career best unbeaten 41* off 25.

They had slathered on 106 runs together in quick time, the Knights reaching 191/6 off their 20.

That should have been advantage Knights right there - especially after Tim Southee (3-41) once again had Hamish Rutherford walking back in early.

But Neil Broom got going with Dale Phillips, the pair quickly pasting on 29 with Phillips the one dominating: smashing 21 off just nine deliveries, feasting off both Southee and Trent Boult before Southee stopped his run torrent.

Broom would be the key in the end. He shared a 74-stand with old faithful contributor Anaru Kitchen (37 off 26) for the third wicket, but when Kuggeleijn had Kitchen caught and then, a couple of overs later, Santner got the big wicket of Broom, the Volts lost their way with an avalanche of cheap wickets.

Needing 47 off their last two overs as Boult came back into the attack - and with Nick Kelly unable to bat in the innings after a finger injury, the writing was writ large on the wall as the last pair of Duffy and Michael Rae tried to avoid one final ignominy of being bowled out.

Duffy carved Boult for a six, after Rae had peeled three consecutive fours off Southee's final over, but Boult had the last say with Rae caught behind to end their last game - the Volts finishing at 155/9 in the 19th.

It had ultimately been a tough season for both Northern and Otago teams in the two leagues.

Northern Knights beat Otago Volts by 36 runs