Neesham gets Volts home in thriller

After scoring a match-saving half-century that saw the Volts tie their game against the Lions, Jimmy Neesham starred in an exciting superover finish to hand the Volts four points. In a match that swung back and forth, the 23-year-old Kiwi all-rounder upstaged a spectacular century – and later, the Super-Over heroics – of Quinton de Kock.

The win gives the Volts a big chance of progressing to the semi finals. Only a heavy loss against Rajasthan and a big win for Mumbai over Perth would be enough for Mumbai to draw level on points and overturn the significant advantage the Volts have on run rate.

After scoring a 25-ball 52 that helped the Volts draw level with Lions’ 167-run total, Jimmy Neesham took strike in the superover against Sohail Tanveer and picked up where he had left off. The left-hander struck a boundary square of the wicket off the first ball. However, after yielding the strike to Brendon McCullum, Tanveer bowled a precious dot ball and then conceded a bye off the fourth delivery. Thereafter, Neesham could only manage another single. And just when it looked like Tanveer had the Volts pinned, McCullum struck a six off a low full-toss to set the Lions a 14-run target.

McCullum then persisted with the in-form Neesham and handed him the responsibility of bowling the superover against de Kock, who was himself riding high on confidence after his stunning 63-ball 109. The young Protea certainly made his intentions clear as he struck a four off Neesham’s first delivery and followed it up with a six on the leg-side. However, the Volts all-rounder had the final laugh as he prevented the opposition from surpassing his team’s Super-Over tally – although the Lions drew level, the Volts walked away with the spoils as the Volts had scored more runs off boundaries than their opponents in regulation play.

Earlier, the Volts won the toss and asked the Lions to take first strike in Jaipur. Openers, Rassie van der Dussen (17) and Quinton de Kock got the South African club off to a steady start, until their alliance was broken for 44 in 7.1 overs. James McMillan trapped van der Dussen leg-before to give the Volts their first breakthrough. Temba Bavuma walked in at No.3 for the Lions, but he was unable to create any ripples and was stumped by Derek de Brooder off Nick Beard’s bowling for 13 (off 15 balls).

Skipper Alviro Petersen was unable to add to the solid platform built by the openers and departed for golden duck. Again, it was Beard who was responsible for the wicket. However, de Kock remained unfazed at the other end as he took apart the Volts bowling. The 20-year-old ‘keeper-batsman ensured the loss of wickets at the other end did not put a break on the run-scoring.

While he lost Jean Symes’ (20 off 15 balls) company in the 19th over, de Kock raced to his second Twenty20 ton in the very next. Thanks to the youngster’s innings, the Lions made up for a modest start and ended on a high note. de Kock’s 63-ball knock saw him score a total of 109 runs, 40 of which came in fours and another 30 in hits over the fence. Thanks to this onslaught, the Lions managed a competitive 167/4 in their allotted 20 overs.

For the Volts, Beard clocked figures of 2/31, but he went for more than 10 runs per over in his spell. McMillan and Neil Wagner were the other two wicket-takers.

While the Otago Volts’ innings got off to a shaky start as they lost the dangerous Neil Broom and McCullum early on, Hamish Rutherford (32 off 21 balls) and Derek de Brooder (32 off 37 balls) made sure their team remained in the hunt. However, by the time Neesham walked in with his team reeling at 97/4 in 12.5 overs, the Lions looked in control of the encounter. But in what was deemed “Neesham’s Night” the youngster didn’t leave any stone unturned as he pushed the Volts’ score closer to the target.

However, the Kiwi outfit was able to only tie the game in regulation play as Sohail Tanveer – who bowled a high-pressure final over – kept Neesham off strike.

For the Lions, Lonwabo Tsotsobe (30-2) and Imran Tahir (28-2) were the primary wicket-takers. Hardus Viljoen was the most economical of their bowlers as he ended with figures of four overs 23 for one.

*Match report courtesy of Otago Cricket

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