Day three: Otago Volts 326 and 131-6 beat SKYCITY Northern Knights 132 (Nathan McCullum 38*, Ish Sodhi 2-35, Anurag Verma 2-29) and 324 (Joe Carter 87, Scott Kuggeleijn 61, Mitchell Santner 56, Nick Beard 4-62, Nathan McCullum 3-110) by 4 wickets.
The Volts took the win but were made to sweat. After a better second innings from the SKYCITY Knights left them 131 to get, the hosts lost quick wickets and were six down with 52 still needed and two new batsmen at the crease, before Nathan McCullum and Derek de Boorder saw their side home within three days.
The Knights made a much better fist of their second innings than their first. Joe Cater and Daniel Flynn picked up where they left off overnight, adding 136 for the second wicket. After Carter went for 87, caught de Boorder bowled Neil Wagner, the Knights lost three quick wickets before Scott Kuggeleijn and Mitchell Santner came together and passed the Volts total and started building a lead. Ish Sodhi chipped in with 32 not out before the Knights innings ended, setting the Volts 131 to win. Spinners Nick Beard (4-62) and Nathan McCullum (3-110) were most effective for the hosts' attack.
The chase got off to a tricky start when Hamish Rutherford went early for a duck. Aaron Redmond was lbw to Graeme Aldridge for 17, before the Knights picked up 4 wickets for 8 runs in the middle order, as Otago slumped from 3-71 to 6-79. It was Ish Sodhi (2-35) and Anurag Verma (2-29) who did the damage in this section of play, as McCullum and de Boorder came together with Otago still needing 52, facing a fired up attack.
Despite the situation, the pair were able to dig in and calmly take their side through to the close, completing a win by four wickets with McCullum not out 38, supported by de Boorder, who made 14. This match had a bit of everything with some fine seam bowling, determined batting and spin coming in toward the end. It confirmed the Volts in second place and, unfortunately for the Knights, meant they finished on the foot of the table.
Day two: Otago Volts 326 all out lead SKYCITY Northern Knights 132 all out (Neil Wagner 6-39, Jesse Ryder 2-23, Mitchell Santner 51) and 117-1 (Joe Carter 67* Daniel Flynn 37*) by 77 runs.
A remarkable Neil Wagner spell wrecked havoc in the SKYCITY Northern Knights' first innings, allowing his team to ask the visitors to bat again. At one stage Wagner's figures were 6-20 as he went through the Knights' top and middle order like a cricket ball through a ranch slider. In their second innings the Knights showed more resilience and they trail by 77 with nine wickets in hand going into day three.
After an early ground delay and Scott Kuggeleijn ending the Volts' first innings, Neil Wagner took centre stage on day two. He started with the wicket of skipper Daniel Flynn in the first over and continued with most of the Knights' top order. He made the most of bowler-friendly conditions on offer and gave plenty of catching practice to his skipper Derek de Boorder and the slips.
Wagner finished with 6-39, having had figures of -20 after taking Ish Sodhi's wicket. Mitchell Santner showed resistance to make his 51, but after Jesse Ryder had chipped in with two late wickets the Knights were all out and 209 behind after the first innings.
De Boorder invited the visitors to bat again and the Knights were able to dig in more effectively. They lost Brad Wilson, who'd taken 40 balls over his four runs, and they finished the day 117 for one, with Flynn and Joe Carter not out.
Michael Bracewell scored his second century in successive matches to lift the Otago Volts over 300 in the 90 overs completed around a rain delay. He was well supported by James Neesham and Neil Broom, while the SKYCITY Northern Knights were still able to make inroads to have the home team eight down at the close.
After the Knights won the toss and took the ball, the day started sensationally for Graeme Aldridge when he removed both the Volts' openers for ducks. He struck again to have Jesse Ryder back in the shed for ten a few overs later and the hosts in trouble at 3-29. Michael Bracewell was the man to resurrect the innings, starting with a 102 run partnership with Neil Broom, then one of 97 with Jimmy Neesham.
Like last week, the situation dictated that Bracewell curtail his usual attacking style and brought up his ton from 227 balls. When James Baker bowled Neesham for 68 then immediately removed Nathan McCullum for the third duck of the innings it turned the momentum somewhat, before Scott Kuggeleijn picked up the late wickets of Derek de Boorder and Neil Wagner, both caught by BJ Watling, to peg the home team back.