Auckland prepared for tough clashes in the south
The Auckland Aces and Auckland Hearts both play crucial matches tomorrow in Dunedin for their final round-robin double-header.
The Aces are seeking to reverse their fortunes of the last two matches when they take on the Volts.
Coach Mark O’Donnell says the team is looking for consistency.
“We have been playing some very good cricket, especially our bowling and fielding,” he says.
“The batting unit has had a good week of preparation to adjust to the conditions in Dunedin.”
While the Aces have struggled to build momentum, but O’Donnell believes there isn’t much which needs to change for the team to get victories.
“We’re not panicking at all. We’ve had a couple of close losses, and when you look at it, if we’re going to be inconsistent, we’re doing it at the right part of the tournament.”
Two changes to the squad will help create some momentum, as Martin Guptill and Colin Munro return.
“You can’t really discount the Guptill-Munro factor,” says O’Donnell.
“So far, we’ve had decent games when only one player has fired.
“Someone is absolutely going to catch it when we get two or three players coming right.”
James Vince has been released from contract to join the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League.
“James was an immediate hit with the dressing room,” says O’Donnell.
“The finances involved with the BBL meant that we were in no position to stand in his way.
“We wish him all best at the Sixers, and we hope to see him back soon.”
The Auckland Hearts are also looking for a complete team performance when they take on the Sparks in the final round-robin. They sit second on the ladder, with a two-point lead over the Canterbury Magicians.
“There are certainly a lot of intriguing scenarios,” says Hearts coach Dean Flyger.
“We’re treating the match against the Sparks as a final, because there’s a lot at stake.”
What’s at stake is a spot in the final on 20 January against the Wellington Blaze.
Flyger says everyone in the team knows they’ll have to play their part.
“We’re focused on building partnerships and fielding as a unit.
“Then it’s about keeping everything together – knowing our pans and executing them well. There’s a lot about T20 that’s individual, but a good performance from all our players is what we’re looking for, and it’s what will get us the win.”
The Auckland Hearts will face the Otago Sparks the Burger King Super Smash at University of Otago Oval tomorrow from 12:45pm.
The Auckland Aces will play the Otago Volts immediately afterwards at 4:00pm.
Both games will be broadcast live on Radio Sport.
Auckland Hearts squad to play the Otago Sparks
Maddy Green (C)
Tariel Lamb (WK)
Auckland Aces squad to play the Otago Volts
Craig Cachopa (C)
Glenn Phillips (WK)