Jan 112013

Published: 10:28PM Friday January 11, 2013 Source: ONE Sport/Newstalk ZB

Volts on top in HRV Cup (Source: Photosport)

Ryan ten Doeschate in action for the Volts. – Source: Photosport

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Halftime nerves turned into fulltime celebrations for the Otago Volts as they nailed a 12-run victory over the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve to all but assure themselves of a home HRV Cup final.

Winning the toss and batting first, the Volts had been restrained by a well-controlled bowling display through the middle of their innings by the fired-up Firebirds in the top of the table clash, and were forced to settle for 170/6 in their 20 overs.

Captain Derek de Boorder led the way with a determined 67 off 44, but Jesse Ryder matched him with a star turn in the field, taking a brilliant catch to dismiss his opposite number Hamish Rutherford (who had raced to 32 off 20) before taking the ball himself to produce a tidy and pivotal 1-28 off a full complement of four overs.

Ryder’s victim with the ball was the key wicket of pro Ryan ten Doeschate, who fell to a bobbled catch by Ili Tugaga with the innings in the balance at 117/4.

Spinner Houghton (0-32 off four) again proved an excellent foil at the other end and, despite a strong finish by the Volts batsmen, they knew they would have to bowl well to get back into the game.

And that’s what they did. Ironically Jacob Duffy, the leading wicket-taker of the competition, was the only paceman to lose his poise this time, Tamim Iqbal plastering him for 14 runs off his first over of the day.

But the Volts are hardly short on quality fast bowlers and after Fuller scored the big wicket of Ryder in just the third over of the reply, they rapidly turned the tables on the home side, throttling them through the middle by bowling full and straight.

Iqbal, playing his last game for the Firebirds this season, weathered the tight attack for 12 overs, but couldn’t make inroads as the required run rate started rising into 13-an-over territory.

He fell for 41 off 38 just as his team urgently needed a player to launch. Fellow pro Cameron Borgas (35 off 39) had also struggled to get the ball through the field, and by the time captain Grant Elliott arrived at the crease in a aggressive mood his team needed a steep 73 off the last five overs.

The Firebirds had left it too late, and the delighted Volts now move into the box seat on the points table.

A superb bowling spell from spinner Ronnie Hira saw the Canterbury Wizards home in their encounter against Northern Districts in Hamilton.

The visitors scored 184 for eight from their 20 overs, with captain Tom Latham hitting 52 off just 29 balls.

The red and blacks picked up regular wickets during Northern’s reply, with Hira taking figures of four for 16 from his four overs.

The task always appeared beyond the hosts, who needed more than nine runs an over to steal the win, but an unlikely victory remained a possibility until the final over.

Hira provided a glimmer of hope with a towering six and then a boundary, meaning they needed 12 from the last two deliveries before their chase ended at 176/10.

Canterbury’s win helped out their southern neighbours Otago in securing a home final, while Northern Districts and Wellington will play off for home advantage in the semi-final on Sunday.

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