The new pros delivered and the new captain shone for the SKYCITY Northern Knights in Dunedin tonight as they ended the Otago Volts' year-long run of domestic HRV Twenty20 wins.
Skipper Daniel Flynn (below) with 57 off 48 balls led from the front, batting explosively through the top of the innings with steady Brad Wilson after choosing to bat first in windy conditions. When Wilson was caught by Jesse Ryder on 27, Australian import Dan Harris (68 off 37) simply picked up where Wilson left off to see the visitors to an imposing 146-2 by the 17th over.
Although the Knights then lifted their foot off the pedal somewhat at the close, losing four late wickets, 183-6 on the board proved a tough ask against a quality attack. The Volts were unable to get ahead at any stage of the required 9.2 runs an over, despite brilliantly crisp striking from opener Neil Broom and a solid 76-run partnership off 55 balls between Aaron Redmond and Ryan ten Doeschate through the second half of the chase.
While much had been made of the Knights' batting depth, it was a luxury of bowlers that clinched victory, Flynn able to shuffle his attack through the middle to devastating effect, capped off by superb death bowling from their other new Australian import, Ben Laughlin. While three spinners had been taken in, only Daniel Vettori and Jono Boult were employed - and whilst Vettori's battle with Ryder (below) was prime viewing, off-spinner Boult was the surprise package. His lean 6-0 off two critically escalating pressure on the batsmen.
The Knights won the battle between these two sides at the beginning of last season - the last team to beat the Volts in New Zealand. They must now rank as the bogey team for the southerners after a cutting nine-run victory in the first match under lights at the Volts' one-time fortress, University Oval.
The HRV Twenty20 moves to Hamilton next week where the Knights will host a return match against the Volts on Friday, followed on Saturday night by a clash with the Devon Hotel Central Stags.