Familiar turf for Stags away final
The Central Stags have added the experience of their most-capped player, veteran allrounder Kieran Noema-Barnett (89 T20 appearances), to an otherwise unchanged squad for tomorrow’s 2020/21 Dream11 Super Smash Elimination Final at Eden Park Outer Oval, against Canterbury’s Kings.
Second qualifiers the Stags are coming off a 30-run win against the Kings in Napier in the last round of the regular season, and also beat the Kings by 18 runs away in Christchurch in January with the same players named today.
Both of those matches were played under lights while tomorrow’s 2v3 Elimination Final begins at noon at neutral venue Eden Park Outer Oval — but it will be familiar territory for the Stags who won Elimination Finals against the Auckland Aces here in both 2018 and 2019 to progress to the Grand Final — going on to win the title in Hamilton two years ago.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Cleaver says the Stags’ Friday night win was a timely boost for the team’s momentum, after having dropped their previous two games.
“We lost a little bit of momentum there after a busy start to the season, but we’ve got that back now with a good win, and will take that into tomorrow’s Semi and hopefully into the Grand Final two days later.
“With the amount of cricket we play, we don’t mind where we play Finals — as long as we put a good performance on the board and get the result that we are after.”
BLACKCAP Blair Tickner will head into tomorrow’s sudden death showdown as the league’s top wicket-taker this season with 15 from 10 games at 20.73 while 20-year-old Joey Field (pictured above) has enjoyed a standout rookie season in the field, his 11 catches topping the national leaderboard.
Field is the Stags’ youngest contracted player, having stepped up into the professional realm after Adam Milne relinquished his Stags contract in order to play in this year’s BBL. The tall young paceman has also impressed with nine wickets, after starting in every game in the regular season.
Left-handed opening batsman George Worker has meanwhile continued his impressive form in all formats and finishes the regular season as New Zealand’s second most prolific batsman with 420 runs from 10 innings, including his maiden century and two half centuries, to sit behind only Wellington Firebird Finn Allen (496) overall.
Teammates Doug Bracewell, Ross Taylor and Josh Clarkson have all been operating at 160+ strike rates - among the highest in the league, while Bracewell’s rennaisance with the bat has seen him produce his first two T20 half centuries this summer.
Of five 200+ team totals in the men’s Dream11 Super Smash this season, the Stags have produced three of them, and fell short with the 182/7 they made against the Aces at Outer Oval just over three weeks ago.
Admission to the 2v3 Elimination Final at Outer Oval is free for spectators who need only to download a free ticket from www.aucklandcricket.flicket.nz; while supporters who can’t be in Auckland can catch the game live on Spark Sport with coverage beginning at 11.50 a.m.
Dream11 Super Smash Elimination Final
Central Stags v Canterbury Kings
12PM Thursday 11 February 2021
Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland
CENTRAL STAGS SQUAD
Tom Bruce — captain — Taranaki
Doug Bracewell — Hawke’s Bay
Josh Clarkson — Nelson
Dane Cleaver — wicketkeeper — Manawatu
Joey Field — Hawke’s Bay
Jayden Lennox — Hawke’s Bay
Christian Leopard — Hawke’s Bay
Kieran Noema-Barnett — Hawke’s Bay
Ajaz Patel — Hawke’s Bay, BLACKCAPS contract
Ross Taylor — BLACKCAPS contract
Blair Tickner — Hawke’s Bay
George Worker — Manawatu
Will Young — Taranaki, BLACKCAPS contract
Coach — Aldin Smith
Assistant Coach — Dion Ebrahim