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Otago are at the bottom of the points table and will be looking to climb up the ladder in the final round.
Back Wellington as the winners of this match.
Tournament: Plunket Shield 2022-23 | Format: TEST | Venue: University Oval, Dunedin, New Zealand | Toss: To BowlBet Now
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The final round of matches of the 2022–23 Plunket Shield season is all set to begin. Otago, who are at the bottom of the table after four games, will face Wellington on February 26th at the University Oval in Dunedin. They have won one match, lost two, and have 31 points. Wellington, meanwhile, are on 3rd place with 45 points.
Otago’s last game before the break was against the Northern Knights, which they lost by 5 wickets. After winning the toss, Otago chose to bat first at the University Oval, Dunedin and were bowled out for just 181. The Northern Knights posted 277 in reply, taking a substantial lead of 96 runs. As the wicket eased out, Otago produced a better performance in the second innings, scoring 345-9 declared, setting the Knights a target of 250 runs. The Knights chased the runs down in just 48.3 overs with 5 wickets to spare.
Thorn Parkes has been the best batter for Otago this season, scoring 258 runs in 7 innings at an average of 36.85 with 3 fifties. Dean Foxcroft (239 runs in 7 innings at an average of 34.14) has provided stability in the middle-order while Michael Rippon (234 runs in 7 innings at an average of 39) has gotten some crucial runs down the order for the team.
Right-arm quick Jacob Duffy has had a terrific season so far, picking up 22 wickets in 7 innings at an average of 21.36. However, is in the New Zealand Test squad facing England right now and will miss this game. Michael Rippon, with his left-arm spin, has been doing an excellent job, and has 15 wickets to his name at an average of 28.13. Another bowler to watch out for is right-arm pacer Travis Muller (14 wickets in 7 innings at an average of 29).
Hamish Rutherford (c), Jacob Cumming, Dale Phillips, Dean Foxcroft, Thorn Parkes, Max Chu (wk), Michael Rippon, Travis Muller, Jake Gibson, Michael Rae, Jarrod McKay
Wellington have had a topsy-turvy season, where they have won 2 and lost 2. They will badly miss the services of their captain Tom Blundell in this match, as he is busy playing the Test series against England at the moment. Blundell was the highest scorer for them this season, amassing 388 runs in 8 innings at an average of 48.50. In his absence, Rachin Ravindra will have the responsibility to do the bulk of the scoring. The opener has made 288 runs in 8 innings this season at an average of 34. Ravindra is also useful with his left-arm spin and has taken 8 wickets this season at an average of 37.25.
Nick Kelly has had a decent season, collecting 209 runs in 8 innings at an average of 26.12.
In the bowling department, right-arm quick Michael Snedden has impressed the most, taking 17 wickets in 7 innings at an average of 17.41. Ian McPeake (16 wickets in 7 innings at an average of 22.81) has been an important cog in Wellington’s bowling lineup. New ball bowler Logan van Beek had taken 11 wickets in Wellington’s previous game against Central Districts and will be hoping to continue his form.
Luke Georgeson, Rachin Ravindra(c), Troy Johnson, Nick Kelly, Nick Greenwood, Tim Robinson, Peter Younghusband, Logan van Beek, Adam Leonard, Ian McPeake, Michael Snedden
The pitch at the University Oval usually offers plenty of help to the quick bowlers. Batters will find the going tough on the first day when the new ball will seam around considerably. However, by the second and third days, the pitch will settle down and become relatively easier to bat on.
The weather in Dunedin during the match will be cloudy and warm for the most part. Some rain is expected on the second day of the game.
Only one match has been played at the University Oval this season. It was a low-scoring affair where Otago were bowled out for 181 in the first innings and then the Northern Knights for dismissed for 277. As the pitch got better, Otago plundered 345-9 (dec.) in their second innings, and the Knights chased down the target of 250 with 5 wickets remaining. The team batting first in this match should look to score at least 280-300 runs to have a chance of getting a sizeable lead.
The last match played at the University Oval in the Plunket Shield was comfortably won by the team batting second. Expect the side winning the toss in this game to field first.
Otago have won three of the last five Plunket Shield games against Wellington, while Wellington have won two. This season, however, Otago have struggled. Perhaps the three-month break was beneficial, and they can restart the season with a clean slate. Wellington will badly miss their captain, but they still have enough depth in their squad. Their bowling, in particular, is really strong and might be too hot to handle for the opposition on this pitch. If Otago's bowlers can keep Rachin Ravindra quiet in this match, they will have a great chance.
Back Wellington as the winners of this match.
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