26 Jun, Sunday

Positivity, Spinners drive ACES to fourth Shield win


Positivity, Spinners drive ACES to fourth Shield win

Praneel HiraAces

ACES vs. Otago Volts | ACES won by 158 runs.

The ACES have secured a fourth straight Plunket Shield win and ninth overall after a committed effort against the Otago Volts in Alexandra.

A fascinating last day began with captain Robbe O’Donnell (56* off 33 balls) batting on to another half century in the game, before declaring at 259/4.

That left the Otago Volts with a chase of 315.

Ben Lister quickly broke through with the wicket of Hamish Rutherford, however.

The Volts found themselves three down before lunch as spinners Will Somerville and Louis Delport found some turn.

A further four wickets in the middle session had the hosts well and truly on the back foot, at 137/7.

The Volts’ lower order battened down the hatches in a determined last session, while Delport hunted for his fifth wicket.

The left-arm spinner would be left with 4-59 and fellow spinner Somerville 3-22 after Kyle Jamieson claimed the final wicket late in the afternoon to keep the ACES unbeaten and firmly at the top of the table after four rounds, as the only side with four wins.

Earlier in the match, Robert O’Donnell elected to bat and the ACES batting unit made another strong start.

Opening left-hand batsman George Worker continued his rich vein of form with 80 at the top, the ACES 299/5 after 88 overs by stumps on Day One.

The skipper O’Donnell would fall for 84 early on Day Two, but the ACES would carry on to a fourth batting point on the back of Will Somerville’s 54. For Otago, Jarrod McKay picked up 4-85 from his 25 overs.

With 389 on the board, the bowlers went to work. There came up against a determined Volts’ top order who went to the close of play on the second day at 167/3. The highlight of an attritional afternoon, Kyle Jamieson clinging on to a sharp return catch to his right. The tall paceman dove low to grasp the ball just centimetres of the ground to pick up the ACES first.

A 55-run first innings lead did not come easy, with the Volts lower order taking the innings beyond the 110 over mark. The ACES did, however, secure three bowling points as the hosts were bowled out for 334. Somerville continued his fine game, picking up 4-66, while the ACES spinners combined for seven of the ten Volts’ wickets.

The ACES top order then went into hyperdrive in pursuit of a defendable score. Will O’Donnell hit 70 to go with 41 in the first innings, while Glenn Phillips added yet another quick fire half-century to his Shield haul. This time the milestone came from 37 balls, to sit alongside 30-, 20- and 29-ball efforts already this summer.

The ACES went to bed on Day Three with a lead of 271 runs with six wickets in hand.