Over the past two seasons of the Super Smash, Central Districts have performed consistently, yet failed at the last hurdle with losses to Wellington (2016-17) and their opponents on Sunday, Northern Knights (2017-18).
This time around, the likes of Tom Bruce and Doug Bracewell will be hoping for a reversal in fortunes as they seek to dethrone the reigning champions off the top of the mountain in this year's final.
The Northern Knights have been brilliant throughout the tournament securing first place with two matches to spare in spite of having as many as eight players occupied in the T20I series between New Zealand and India.
With the Hamilton pitch yielding a bucket load if runs in the T20I last week, the Knights will be hoping to emulate their own efforts from the previous edition when they reduced the Stags to a below-par score while revenge and success should be on the minds of the Stags.
Squads to choose from
Dean Brownlie, Nick Kelly, Tim Seifert, Daryl Mitchell, Brett Hampton, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Neil Wagner, Ish Sodhi, Kyle Abbott, Daniel Flynn.
Central District Stags:
Tom Bruce, Will Young, George Worker, Bevan Small, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne, Seth Rance, Ben Wheeler, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner, Dane Cleaver, Dean Foxcroft.
Playing XI Updates
Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Tim Seifert and Mitchell Santner return for this crucial clash to boost the Knights' chances of defending their title.
Seifert and Kuggeleijn have been in amazing form over the last few weeks and would be banking on it against a good Stags bowling unit. Daryl Mitchell is amongst the highest run-scorers in the tournament and will be looking to shrug off a disappointing India series with a sizeable contribution on Sunday.
Sodhi and Santner will handle the spin duties while Tim Southee will play at the expense of Neil Wagner.
Possible XI: Kelly, Seifert(WK), Brownlie (C), Mitchell, Anderson, Hampton, Santner, Kuggeleijn, Abbott, Southee and Sodhi
Stags welcome back their leading wicket-taker, Blair Tickner, and he should slot in for Kieran Noema-Barnett. Doug Bracewell's performances with the bat should see him bat at number six while the pinch hitting abilities of Adam Milne and Ben Wheeler are sure to come into play in the latter part of their batting.
With a fearsome bowling attack in their possession, Ajaz Patel's spin complements it and he will be looking to pick wickets at regular intervals.
Possible XI: Young, Worker, Foxcroft, Bruce(C), Cleaver(WK), Bracewell, Milne, Wheeler, Tickner, Patel and Rance.
Fantasy Tips and Suggestions
Wicket-keeper: Tim Seifert is the preferred choice over Dane Cleaver in-spite of the Stags' keeper putting in a career best performance in the previous match against Auckland Aces. Seifert is coming on the back of a brilliant T20I series against India and should be backed to continue in the same vein of form.
Batsmen: George Worker and Tom Bruce have done well for the Stags this season although the former hasn't fully showcased his array of shots so far. Both of them should be backed in relatively flat wicket along with Knights' captain, Dean Brownlie. Brett Hampton is also a viable option with his bowling also bringing in handy points if given the chance.
All-rounders: Amongst a number of great options, Daryl Mitchell, Corey Anderson and Dean Foxcroft are the ideal set of players to have in the side. All three of them bat in the top six and are quite handy with the ball as well, which is key in a high-octane match such as this one. Doug Bracewell and Mitchell Santner could also slot in if a bowling option is desired.
Bowlers: Scott Kuggeleijn and Blair Tickner are must haves in the side with their record speaking for themselves. Kyle Abbott has been brilliant in the death and with the new ball. Expect him to pick a wicket or two with the new ball while Adam Milne has been economical in his two outings for the Stags.
Captain: George Worker and Daryl Mitchell are great options for captain with their batting ability known to one and all. Tom Bruce hasn't converted his cameos off late and could come off in the final.
Fantasy Suggestion #1: Tim Seifert(WK), Dean Brownlie, Tom Bruce, George Worker, Daryl Mitchell, Corey Anderson, Dean Foxcroft, Scott Kuggeleijn, Adam Milne, Blair Tickner and Kyle Abbott. Captain: George Worker
Fantasy Suggestion #2: Tim Seifert (WK), Brett Hampton, Tom Bruce, George Worker, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Scott Kuggeleijn, Blair Tickner and Ben Wheeler. Captain: Tom BrucePublished 16 Feb 2019, 10:58 IST