Sunday News

Volts’ Gibson provides electric knock to earn playoffs spot


AFTER two years as wooden spooners, Otago are back in the Super Smash men’s playoffs.

And put it down to a brilliant knock from Jake Gibson, whose punishing 96 off 63 balls led them to a four-wicket win over the Canterbury Kings in Christchur­ch yesterday.

That has secured the Volts a spot in the top three, and also handed them a psychologi­cal edge ahead of their big re-match against their southern rivals in the last game of the regular season in Dunedin tomorrow.

Having restricted the hosts at a hot Hagley Oval to 156-8, Otago looked mostly on track in their chase, until a few mid-innings jitters. It was Gibson who exploded into action to settle any semblance of nerves for the visitors, who, with a bit of handy help down the order, got home with three balls to spare.

Gibson, recently promoted to open and playing in just his 13th domestic T20, with a previous high score of 30, was all class in a big-hitting, but also smart knock which featured nine fours, four sixes and nine well-run twos.

Canterbury had two batters make PBs of their own - Ken McClure (44 off 37) and Mitch Hay (46 off 32) - but the Kings total was restricted chiefly through Matt Bacon’s superb 2-17 off four overs.

In reply, the visitors raced to 48-0 off four overs. At the halfway stage they were exactly halfway to their target, at 79-2, though then overs that went for just five, three and one ramped up the pressure.

But step up Gibson. At the start of crafty Todd Astle’s final over (the 15th of the innings), an open blade trickled one for four, then two balls later he launched a huge slog-sweep over the fence, and next ball rocked back and whacked six more.

First ball of the next over he smoked a Zak Foulkes slower ball down the ground for a maximum, too, and though with just two needed to win off five balls he holed out just short of a century, it was a magical match-winning innings all the same.

If Otago win the re-match tomorrow they will finish top and secure hosting rights for next Saturday’s final.

If they lose, it will be Canterbury finishing first on net run rate and the Volts second and facing the Northern Brave in the 2 v 3 playoff.

Should the Wellington Firebirds beat the Auckland Aces at the Basin Reserve today, they could still nab third spot if the Kings lose tomorrow.

Home team opener Kate Anderson made the most of her opportunit­ies, reaching 74 not out from 71 balls, batting through the innings as Otago squandered a string of chances to dismiss her. She now has 308 runs at an average of 54.57 at better than a run-a-ball in the T20 competitio­n.

But former White Ferns captain Amy Satterthwa­ite dropped James off a caught and bowled opportunit­y in the second over of Otago’s chase.

While Satterthwa­ite later pulled off a sharp caught and bowled when she got another chance, James had already hammered seven fours and a six to make 36 from only 17 balls.

Fellow opener Inglis struggled early, but flourished later to make 43 from 47 balls, which effectivel­y ensured Otago will grab a spot in the playoffs.

The two teams meet again in Dunedin tomorrow, with the winner to host the eliminatio­n final to find which team gets to challenge defending champion Wellington Blaze in the final.

 ?? PHOTOSPORT ?? Jake Gibson plundered a brilliant 96 in the Otago Volts’ win over the Canterbury Kings at Hagley Oval in Christchur­ch yesterday.
PHOTOSPORT Jake Gibson plundered a brilliant 96 in the Otago Volts’ win over the Canterbury Kings at Hagley Oval in Christchur­ch yesterday.

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