The Otago Volts found a spectacular way to get on the board after they pulled off a sensational clutch win over the Knights at University of Otago Oval.
In a match that had been condensed to 15 overs per side after showers appeared immediately following the toss — won by the hosts, the Volts smashed 14 sixes en route to a hearty 177 for five… and then only just defended it.
Fast forward to the end of the match and the Knights needed 18 runs from Jimmy Neesham’s final over, Scott Kuggeleijn ready to come out swinging. He smashed a four and six from the first two deliveries of the last over, but then Mitchell Santner got himself run out and Kuggeleijn followed suit desperately trying to get back for a second to keep the strike.
The home crowd was on the edge of their seat as the winning equation reduced to seven from two, but Neesham made it three wickets in the space of three balls by bowling Zak Gibson, Ish Sodhi’s last ball boundary wasn’t enough and that was it — game over, Volts scraping in by just two runs!
What a thriller it was, and the number one star of the show was Neesham with both bat and ball. He had slaughtered an unbeaten 42 off just 16 balls in the Volts’ innings, quickly capitalising on a solid recovery by Anaru Kitchen (27 off 17), Neil Broom (57 off 35) and Michael Bracewell (34 off 14) after the early exit of captain Hamish Rutherford.
Collectively they left the crowd in no doubt that they had come out to entertain, and take the attack to the dangerous Knights.
Kuggeleijn had taken care of Rutherford first over, but the tables were quickly turned with Bracewell spading three sixes from his first six balls faced. He was just getting started.
Broom brought up his 50 with a drive slammed straight into the foot of Kuggeleijn, while Neesham was simply brutal. The only way they were going to get out was swinging.
The Knights capitalised on a loose start with the ball from the Volts, and it seemed to give them the extra dash of confidence to rally to the imposing chase. Neesham picked up an aggressing Joe Carter but the big wicket once again shaped as Dean Brownlie, who played a beautiful hand with his 24-ball 50: it took Neil Wagner to stop him on 52.
Corey Anderson (30 off 11) and Mitchell Santner (29 off 15) kept it rolling, Anderson whacking Josh Finnie for three consecutive sixes, yet no one saw such a close and dramatic finish coming as the Knights suffered their first defeat of the season. What a match!