Cricket: Otago Volts Beat Wellington Firebirds to Win HRV Cup

Jeff Cheshire@@jeff_cheshireAnalyst IIJanuary 20, 2013

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 20:  Otago celebrates winning the HRV T20 Final match between the Otago Volts and the Wellington Firebirds at University Oval on January 20, 2013 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images)
Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images

It wasn't pretty, nor was it always effective, but the Otago Volts have done enough to get home against the Wellington Firebirds in the HRV Cup Final, claiming the title of New Zealand's best Twenty20 team.

After being set a fairly modest total, Otago made hard work of their task after having been in the box seat for much of the game. But with the game teetering on a knife's edge, the stars stood up and saw the home side get over the line to win their 10th consecutive game.

It was the opening overs of the Wellington innings that set the tone for the game, as James Fuller and Jacob Duffy removed three Wellington batsmen without scoring in the first three overs. Fuller went on to be a star, finishing with figures of 4/24 off his four overs.

Wellington's hopes now rode the most talked about man in New Zealand cricket of recent times, Jesse Ryder, who had pummelled 17 runs off the first over of the game. His heroics over the past two months have seen him become the most dangerous batsman in New Zealand once more, and he was more than capable of giving his team the ascendancy should he get going.

But he didn't get going, skying one off the bowling of Ian Butler to be caught for 30 in an innings that included four sixes.

With Ryder gone, Wellington began to take a more conservative approach, pushing for runs rather than scoring quickly. The Otago spinner Nick Beard tied up one end bowling a tidy four overs for 2/13 and ensured runs remained a scarcity.

At six down for just 54 runs the game looked to be very much in Otago's favour. But a useful partnership between Harry Boam and Luke Woodcock helped them along the way to a final total of 144/8, with Woodcock finishing the best of the batsmen on 40 not out.

At this stage Otago were very much in the box seat, but two early wickets put paid to that statement and saw the home side slump to a lowly 8/2, blowing the game wide open.

But a 60 from Neil Broom and handy knocks from Derek de Boorder, Ryan ten Doeschate and Ian Butler saw Otago back on track to reach their target with nine balls to spare for a four-wicket win.

The win means Otago will represent New Zealand at the lucrative Champions League in India in September, which pits the world's best Twenty20 teams against each other.