If Anton Devcich had a point to prove to New Zealand cricket selectors, consider it well made.
Devich was left out of the New Zealand Twenty20 side to play the West Indies, probably justifiably after missing the short-form season last year due to injury, and having started this year's campaign solidly, but not spectacularly.
However, the 32-year-old showed why he's such a valuable all-round contributor in the shortest form of the game, leading Northern Districts to victory over Otago at Seddon Park today.
Devcich blasted 42 from 21 balls to set ND off to a flying start, before then taking a career-best 4-12 as the hosts cruised to a 106-run victory.
While Devcich was the main contributor, ND had an array of excellent offerings, putting together one of their most complete innings in their underwhelming Twenty20 history.
After Devcich set things up, powerful pinch-hitter Brett Hampton extended the barrage. Hampton blasted four sixes – including two of the biggest seen in years at Seddon Park – as he made 44 from 20 balls, and Daniel Flynn (47 from 26) and Daryl Mitchell (41 from 24) continued the onslaught as the hosts made 212-9.
In response, two quick Devcich wickets made the Volts' already tough task a near-impossible mission. Only the improving Shawn Hicks passed 20, making 52 off 28 balls, with the rest of the Otago batsmen mustering just four boundaries between them.
Anaru Kitchen - who yesterday was named in the New Zealand squad for the first time – made just two, after taking 1-38 from three overs.
However, to be fair to Kitchen, it took a spectacular effort to dismiss him, with English import Chris Jordan leaping at mid-on to take a one-handed screamer that deserved to have been seen by more than just a smattering of domestic faithfuls.
Jordan had a fantastic debut, taking 2-17 and snaring three catches, while Mitchell (3-22) and Ish Sodhi (1-18) both took advantage of an Otago side desperate to up the run rate.
The end result was Northern's second-largest victory in their history, and a sign that their first season under new coach Gareth Hopkins could be their most successful since their lone title in the 2013-2014 campaign.
Northern Districts move to the top of the Twenty20 table, with a 3-1 record, while the Volts are still winless through three games.