Matt Bacon wonder-catch sees Otago Volts stun Super Smash leaders Central Stags

At Saxton Oval, Nelson: Otago Volts 166-8 (Dean Foxcroft 66 off 49; Brett Randell 2-30 off 4, Ray Toole 2-36 off 4, Josh Clarkson 2-37 off 4) beat Central Days 162-9 (Bayley Wiggins 41 off 24, Tom Bruce 32 off 21; Matt Bacon 5-28 off 4, Michael Rae 2-35 off 4) by 4 runs.

A sensational caught and bowled from Matt Bacon has led the Otago Volts to a stunning Super Smash comeback win over the Central Stags in Nelson on Saturday.

Chasing 167 for victory at Saxton Oval, the competition-leading Stags were cruising, but got the jitters, then lost their way completely as a charged-up Bacon pulled off a heroic display, finishing with a match-winning 5-28 in his side’s epic four run win.

It had not looked likely. The visitors had posted a seemingly under-par 166-8, thanks only to Dean Foxcroft’s superb 66 off 49 balls, which ensured the Volts reaped 104 off the last 10 overs.

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The 24-year-old Foxcroft, who is the leading runscorer in the competition and is in the midst of a waiting game for Black Caps eligibility thanks to being stuck back in South Africa for a couple of yearscontinued to show his prodigious potential, but lacked much support.

His side were then guilty of some wayward early bowling, and with Bayley Wiggins (41 off 24, including four fours and two sixes) getting things moving swiftly, the Stags were cruising at around 10 an over.

Matt Bacon celebrates his stunning caught and bowled in the Volts' comeback win over the Stags in Nelson.

Chris Symes/Photosport

Matt Bacon celebrates his stunning caught and bowled in the Volts’ comeback win over the Stags in Nelson.

They were 87-2 at the halfway mark, needing 80 off 60 balls, but the stutters came next over when Ross Taylor holed out on the boundary, then seven balls later Will Young was stumped, and next over hometown birthday boy Josh Clarkson was runout .

Captain Tom Bruce looked to be the calm head to get the job done, but he fell for 32 off 21 thanks to Bacon’s remarkable one-handed caught and bowled grab, and when he had Brett Randell hole out three balls later it was all on.

It left 21-year-old Will Clark, in just his second game, to bring the hosts home. He hit a superb lofted drive for four and at 12 required off nine balls, the hosts were still a good shot, despite being seven down.

But with 10 needed off the last over, Bacon pulled off three dots – two of them wickets, with Ajaz Patel out to catch a decent Ben Lockrose boundary and Jayden Lennox skying to captain Hamish Rutherford.

A frantic bye-run got Clark on strike with nine needed off two, and after pumping another lofted drive for four he needed another off the last to tie, but Bacon came up with a big outswinger that beat the youngster’s big swing of the willow, and the comeback kings were crowned.

the big moment

Matt Bacon came up with a few big balls in the final over, but it was his brilliant caught and bowled to dismiss Tom Bruce that proved pivotal. The Stags captain was just getting into his groove and looked set to lead the hosts home, before his pop off the back foot was somehow gobbled up by the flying paceman on the first ball of the 18th over.

Best with the bat

Dean Foxcroft, with his 66 off 49 (three fours, four sixes) continued his super season, with his third half century of the competition, in his sixth innings. The punchy right-hander was at his powerful best down the ground, and all around the park for that matter, and his knock was vital as not many of his mates could get going.

Best with the ball

Who else but Bacon, after the 29-year-old right-armer finished with a career-best 5-28 off his four overs. He had Ben Smith early, then that awesome return catch effort spurred him to take a further three, as he held his nerve well in the heart-racing final stages.

The big picture

The Stags maintain their spot at the top of the table, but it’s now just a two-point lead they hold, with the Volts having jumped into second. Central are next in action on Friday against the Canterbury Kings in Christchurch, while the Volts have a midweek Ford Trophy game before a re-match against the Stags in Dunedin next Sunday.

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