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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur

Depth in squad key to Volts’ success

Consistent performances from all-rounders keeping team in semi-final contention

Yet to be beaten in Karbonn Smart Champions League Twenty20 2013, the Otago Volts will be looking to strengthen their position in Group A when they taken on the Highveld Lions on September 29. With a win and two points from their washed out game, the Volts are currently placed second in their group.

Speaking about their standing ahead of the match, wicketkeeper-batsman Derek de Boorder said, “If we win this next game, it puts us in a pretty good position to be in the hunt for the semifinals. This next game against the Lions is quite crucial for us to get up. It can put us in a great spot to compete for a place in the semifinal.”

The Volts who boast of a strong line-up in all departments had piled on the runs in their match against the Perth Scorchers, and therefore if net run-rate comes into play, the Brendon McCullum-led side is currently in an advantageous position. Asked if that was something they had kept in mind as they took apart the Scorchers attack, Jimmy Neesham said, “First and foremost we were just giving ourselves a great opportunity to win that game. Especially when we were batting in the first innings, the idea was just to get the highest possible total. Halfway through our fielding innings, the game looked pretty much won, and then the attitude turned to let’s see how much of a run-rate boost we can get out of it. But when we were batting, it was mainly about winning the game.” 

Besides having good hitters of the ball in their line-up, they also have a good bowling attack. Describing their attack as a balanced one, Neesham said, “I think the beauty of the attack that we have at the moment is that it is balanced in all the areas with a couple of spinners and some good seam options as well. We are pretty confident in ourselves that we can handle whatever batting line-up comes up against us. It’s just a question of adapting to the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent on the day.”

Like they showed in their previous game and throughout the Qualifiers, the Volts’s have been aggressive in their approach. Asked if it is their strategy to keep attacking, Neesham replied, “I think it’s the make-up of our side. We have got three all-rounders batting in the top six. So that gives us the depth to go and play aggressively, especially in the top six. We have been lucky that in the few games we have played we haven’t really lost three or four wickets early. So we have been able to keep going quite aggressively. But obviously the strategy will change if we do get knocked over at the top of the order. We will go back into our shells a bit and consolidate.”

Discussing their preparation for their face-off against the Lions in Jaipur, De Boorder said, “We are probably quite lucky that the wickets aren’t typical Indian wickets. We are used to something similar, and it’s what we play on back home in New Zealand where we do have sporting wickets around the country and wickets that can keep a bit low at times. The facilities here are quite similar to what we get back home, so it’s a little bit of an advantage for us.”

As they continue to keep winning games, the Volts have kept the momentum going by sticking to a simple plan. de Boorder explained, “We have got a pretty simple plan that we have stuck to, both with the bat and the ball. What has held us in good stead is different guys contributing throughout for each win. It is not always the same guys who are getting the runs or the wickets. At different times, different guys are putting their hands up.”

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