The Otago Volts have overcome a belligerent Colin Munro century to post a thrilling three wicket victory over the Auckland Aces at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland.
Having held the Aces to a lead of 217, the Volts successfully negotiated the target in 60.3 overs, though the chase certainly wasn’t without its precarious moments.
Hamish Rutherford (0), Michael Bracewell (2) and Neil Broom (1) all went cheaply to leave the visitors extremely vulnerable at 27 for three.
Aaron Redmond saw out the tough opening spell, but was then caught on 36 in the 28th over with the Volts still needing a further 135 runs for victory.
Nathan McCullum and Sam Wells then put on a crucial 72 run stand for the fifth wicket to bolster their side’s chances. Just as McCullum looked to finish with a bang, the 32 year-old was sent on his way for 77.
What followed was almost a stalemate between the two sides, with five maidens being bowled on the trot. The lean patch was then capped off by the dismissal of Derek de Boorder to reduce the Volts to 165 for six.
The game was broken wide open when Sam Wells (39) was bowled by Kyle Mills just four runs later – a tense finish looked likely.
It didn’t eventuate though as Jimmy Neesham and Neil Wagner showed attack was the best form of defense, smashing their way to victory to claim a three wicket win.
Neesham finished with a destructive 36 from 30 balls, while Wagner played his role too with 17 from 25.
Mitchell McClenaghan and Chris Martin were both effective with the ball in hand and finished with figures of three for 48 and three for 62 respectively.
Earlier Colin Munro had done well to dig Auckland out of the hole they found themselves in at the start of the day at 118 for five.
The 25 year-old followed up his massive double-century at the same venue last week with a clinical 118. The knock came from 124 balls and – as with any Munro innings – was highlighted by some big shots.
He found help from Craig Cachopa (27) and Bruce Martin (32) for a bit, but began to run out of partners. Having struck six sixes and 12 fours he too was out, closing the Aces innings at 274 from 56.4 overs.
Ian Butler retained his spot on top of the Plunket Shield wickets chart, finishing with four scalps from the innings and overall match analysis of nine for 118.
The victory puts the Volts in second place on the points ladder, 13 behind the Central Stags.
Day two: Aces on the ropes
The Auckland Aces are in need of something special to avoid defeat in their Plunket Shield match against the Otago Volts at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland.
The Volts claimed a small and yet helpful 57 run first innings lead on day two, before reducing the home side to 118 for five – just 61 runs ahead with five wickets in hand.
The top order once again failed to flourish for the Aces, despite an opening partnership of 50 between Lou Vincent and Tim McIntosh.
However, Vincent’s dismissal for 38 triggered a damaging collapse as the next four batsmen went for a combined total of just 42.
Colin Munro (28*) and Craig Cachopa (6*) then came together at the crease to see the rest of the day out. Having put on 377 together in the Aces recent match against the Wellington Firebirds, the pair know they are more than capable of resurrecting the innings.
Ian Butler added two more to his first up effort of five wickets on day one, while Neil Wagner also broke through with a couple of scalps his own.
It backed up the good work done by Aaron Redmond earlier in the day to claim a slender first innings lead.
Redmond played with the upmost patience on his way to 98, spending three and a half hours at the crease and facing 279 balls.
His largest partnership came with co-opener Hamish Rutherford (70), with the pair putting on 103 for the first wicket. It came to an end in unfortunate circumstances, as Rutherford was run out in the 28th over.
Further contributions were scarce, with Sam Wells the only other one to really get going with 35. Redmond looked to be on his way to triple digits, until he too was gone to leave the Volts 246 for seven.
The tail was cleaned up smartly, as the Aces made sure the deficit would not leave a huge gap for them to negotiate in the next innings.
Much of the good work with the ball came from Dean Bartlett, who picked up five wickets in his 18 overs for 53 runs.
Despite the good bowling effort, the Aces find themselves well and truly behind and will have to show some serious resilience to deny the Volts the points tomorrow.
Day one: Volts in strong position
The Otago Volts took the advantage on day one of their Plunket Shield match against the Auckland Aces and will resume tomorrow just 110 runs behind with ten wickets in hand.
Playing at Eden Park Outer Oval, the Aces failed to produce a significant partnership and were dismissed for 196. The opening pair of Hamish Rutherford and Aaron Redmond then capped off a dominant day for the southerners with an unbeaten stand of 86.
Rutherford (60) played with poise and purpose at the beginning of the pursuit and flew to his half-century off 57 balls.
Aaron Redmond at the other end was far more cautious, but battled through to remain unbeaten on 23 at day’s end and will be optimistic of building a big lead tomorrow.
Earlier the bowling attack had done the job for the Volts, as Ian Butler’s fantastic run of form continued with a five wicket bag.
Apart from 37 from Lou Vincent, the Aces’ top order fell to pieces, leaving the home side reeling at 87 for five.
Recent double centurion Colin Munro showed some resilience with 59, but it went no further as the Aces were rolled in the 52nd over.
Butler was lethal with figures of five for 57 from 14, while Jimmy Neesham and Nathan McCullum picked up two apiece.