State Twenty20 preview

A much-changed State Canterbury Wizards team begins the defence of the State Twenty20 title at New Plymouth against State Central Stags.

After a successful small scale version in 2005/06, the 2006/07 campaign sees the tournament with a full round-robin after last year’s regional pools.

Canterbury overcame State Auckland Aces at Eden Park to secure the title en route to a limited-overs double in 2005/06.

However, that side has seen significant changes, with senior players such as Paul Wiseman, Chris Cairns and Gary Stead retiring, and have five Australian-bound BLACKCAPS out.

Wizards coach Dave Nosworthy said: “We’re bereft of our BLACKCAPS, with Chris Harris and Michael Papps giving us our experience, and Michael only played down the order last year.

“There are only a couple of players with any Twenty20 experience at all – we’ve lots of babies.

“There are a lot of differences, we’ve changed quite drastically. But we do have a lot of permutations and various personnel and options.”

Central will look to improve on last season, where the Twenty20 was the only competition they failed to reach the final stages.

Elsewhere, 2006 finalists State Auckland Aces will look to build on their State Shield form in the 20-over competition, starting against State Wellington Firebirds at Eden Park Outer Oval.

State Otago Volts will look to repeat their recent victories over State Northern Knights when the sides meet again at Dunedin’s University Oval.

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