Canterbury’s Kings hit the ground running in Burger King Super Smash with a whopping record win over the Volts — even despite another Jacob Duffy T20 five-fa.
Runs on the board were king in Canterbury as England star Ben Stokes slammed 93 off just 47 balls — 42 of those runs coming from sixes in the second biggest T20 score of his career — to drive the Kings to a solid 217 for nine, a total that would prove more than enough to shock the Volts as the Kings slaughtered their way to easily the biggest winning runs margin in the history of the New Zealand domestic T20 game.
Stokes was in the fray early after a solid Jacob Duffy grabbed two wickets in two balls from the fourth over and, until Stokes started pulling his devastating array of shots out of the kit bag, hitting the ball sweetly whether for a quick two or lusty full-bodied blow, the Volts would have been feeling chuffed with their own good start to the T20 summer.
T20 five-wicket bags are not the commonest feats on the planet but Duffy now has two of them, both against the Kings — today’s 5-39 completed when he claimed the prize wicket of Stokes for himself and put himself on an (unconverted) hat-trick for the second time in the same game, having just taken care of Matt Henry.
But by then southern celebrations were subdued, for there were only two balls remaining in the innings — and the tearaway Stokes had found just enough patches of support to get the hosts to a daunting first-up total.
Michael Pollard’s good form had continued at the top: he blasted an aggressive 33 while Tim Johnston slayed 21 runs off just seven balls for a quick boost down the order.
Needing better than run-a-ball from the outset, the Volts had no time to lose in reply but they were up against some seriously experienced white ball campaigners in Todd Astle and captain Andrew Ellis, who headed into this classic southern derby needing just five more poles to be the first man to claim 100 wickets in the Burger King competition.
Ellis, whom Duffy joined as one of very few bowlers to have claimed two five-wicket bags in a T20 career, would bowl only one over, yet true to form that was plenty long enough for the Canterbury King to bag two wickets.
Every Canterbury bowler contributed to the wicket column, but more to the point they kept the blowtorch turned on the Volts by picking them off so regularly, the pressure racheting up with every over.
Captain and opener Rob Nicol’s 26 was the sorry top score in reply as the dominoes tumbled, the shocked Volts all out in just 11.4 overs as the purple-bedecked supporters erupted in delight at a powerful 134-run victory over a team with far more talent than the margin suggested.
Astle (above) had wound up with a three-fa after claiming Josh Finnie and Brad Wilson off consecutive balls as the Kings closed in for the kill, but it was a true team effort and best of all with Stokes finally firing up in a blockbuster performance for his adopted Kiwi team to thrill the home crowd.
In all 16 sixes were smashed, Stokes with the lion’s share as he showed his brutal power but only three of them from the Volts who will go back to the drawing board after a humiliating loss that didn’t at all reflect their strength on paper.
The Volts will host their first home game on Sunday in Dunedin against the champion Firebirds while the Kings depart for Nelson’s Saxton Oval where they will be in for a riveting showdown with the Central Stags the same afternoon.
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