13 Dec 2015

Otago gifted spot in final

12:54 pm on 13 December 2015

The Otago Volts have advanced to domestic cricket's Twenty20 final after Friday night's qualifying final against the Auckland Aces had to be abandoned due to rain.

Otago'sHamish Rutherford on his way to 91.

Otago'sHamish Rutherford on his way to 91. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Otago progress by virtue of having been the top qualifier in the regular season.

Sent in by the Auckland captain Rob Nicol, Otago responded with confidence courtesy of an unbeaten, 66-ball 91 from Hamish Rutherford, who carried his bat for a T20 career best in his first appearance at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium.

Nicol took the wicket of Michael Bracewell with his final delivery to finished with the best figures of 2-20, having rotated his attack at the outset before looking to clamp Rutherford down against twin spin through the middle.

But Rutherford was unperturbed and had survived an early runout scare to contribute the bulk of the Volts' tally of 165 for five, with his knock including seven boundaries and four sixes.

While his team-mates did not emulate his score, they mirrored his confident striking and the challenge had been firmly laid down to the power-packed Aces order.

However, light rain at the interval steadily grew stronger, eventually forcing an abandonment at 9.45pm without the covers coming off again, meaning Auckland's batting innings was derailed.

As second qualifiers, the Aces had to face the elimination final at the same venue on Saturday night, where they beat third qualifiers the Canterbury Kings by two runs in a rain-affected match to book their place against Otago.