CD Stags look to upset the cart

By ANENDRA SINGH sports editor


HRV Cup T20

Dunedin

Having arrived about 6.30pm from the airport Alan Hunt wasn't in any rush to find a pivotal perch in front of a giant plasma screen TV at the team's hotel in Dunedin yesterday.

No, watching the Otago Volts versus Auckland Aces HRV Cup Twenty20 wasn't in his urgent basket although they are two teams the Stags still have to play twice in the four remaining matches of the hit-and-giggle format of the 2012-13 season.

The Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags coach simply wanted to go for dinner and then perhaps catch the last few overs of the match.

As much as it looks and sounds myopic, Hunt made a fair point with his attitude after the Kieran Noema-Barnett-captained CD find themselves dead last on the T20 table, on four points, after a solitary victory from six matches.

"It's not like they going to do anything different but they are showing consistency," Hunt said as CD face the prospect of picking up the wooden spoon unless they change their fortunes from tomorrow in a televised match against the Volts at the University Oval from 2pm.

The Stags are coming off two losses to the Canterbury Wizards at Saxton Oval, Nelson, this week as the Gary Stead-coached southerners rebuffed any prospect of finishing last in what was billed as the battle of the bottom dwellers.

"In the first game in Nelson one guy [Mongoose bat-wielding Gareth Andrew] won it for them and then in the second one Andrew Ellis and Brendon Diamanti did it," Hunt said of the four-wicket and an agonising five-run defeat on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Okay, so CD's T20 campaign is over in a summer when three teams have the opportunity to claim a play-off berth but that doesn't mean Noema-Barnett and his men have no intentions of going down in men's domestic competition history as the whipping boys of cricket.

The four-day Plunket Shield leaders and one-day Ford Trophy defending champions (the competition begins on February 26) aim to spoil the party as much as they can for the top-three qualifiers.

The Volts, perched on the second rung of the T20 ladder on 16 points, are definitely in contention while defending champions Aces, on just eight points, are also looking good because they have five matches remaining including last night's clash against the Volts.

Northern Districts Knights, having a win and a loss against CD, are setting the pace on 20 points with the Wellington Firebirds, who inflicted two T20 and two shield defeats on the Stags, perched on the third rung on 16 points but with an inferior average than Otago.

CD's injury woes continued with unwanted Black Caps wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk jetting back home from Nelson in the hope of nursing a broken, picked up in an earlier round, to be fit for the shield campaign.

Ex-Wellington seamer Andrew Lamb, setting the pace at the New Zealand Provincial A Tournament in Christchurch this week, has been called in but is likely to be the 12th man.

First-class opening batsman Jeet Raval may make his T20 debut to add some batting depth and offer another spin option with Ben Smith slipping on the wicketkeeping gloves ahead of veteran Mathew Sinclair.

Hunt said in Thursday's loss CD were about 10 to 15 runs shy and also gifted too many runs to the Wizards in the last five overs.

The Mike Shrimpton-coached CD Hinds finished last in both T20 and one-day women's domestic competitions after the last two rounds in Christchurch.

The Rachel Priest-skippered side won one T20 match and two one-dayers all season.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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