Cricket: Defending Super Smash champions Northern Brave beat Otago Volts to set up Canterbury Kings final rematch

Defending champions Northern Brave have beaten the Otago Volts to book their spot in the Super Smash final against the table-topping Canterbury Kings.

After winning the toss, Volts stand-in skipper Dean Foxcroft sent the Brave into bat, a decision which proved costly in the 16-run (DLS) defeat.

Clarke in action.
Clarke in action. Photo credit: Photosport

The rain did little to halt the charge of opening pair Katene Clarke (73) and Tim Seifert (42), who put on a 105-run opening partnership inside the first eight overs.

Seifert's dismissal only brought a firing Brett Hampton (44) to the crease, who together with Clarke, devastated the Volts bowlers.

Blackcaps all-rounder Mitch Santner hit two sixes at the backend of the innings, as the Brave posted an imposing 199/4 off their reduced 18 overs.

Otago's chase got off to the worst of possible starts after Blackcaps fast bowler Neil Wagner struck in the opening over to remove Jake Gibson.

Volts stand-in skipper and leading-run scorer Dean Foxcroft looked likely to revive their innings once more with a quick-fire 39 runs.

But after he picked out Santner in the deep, their run chase never recovered, with Llew Johnson (20), Josh Finnie (43), and Max Chu (16) all battling valiantly but, ultimately, in vain.

Spin bowler Tim Pringle picked up two wickets at an economy of just over six an over, while Wagner added another two scalps to his tally.

The Brave - as well as Blackcaps coach Gary Stead - will be sweating on Santner's fitness though, after he picked up a finger injury.

Player-of-the-match Clarke credited his batting partners for sharing the load and putting the Volts bowlers under pressure early.

"Yeah, pretty happy with that, pretty easy to bat with the other boys around," he told Sky Sport post-match. "Full credit to my batting opening partner, Tim.

"Getting on top of the bowlers early is obviously massive, and they obviously have to think about the rest of the over and we executed today

"Never walk out to the crease expecting to middle everything but some came off today, and some didn't, and well played to Foxy, gave us a bit of a shaky start."

The Brave will now travel to Christchurch to play the Kings in a rematch of last year's Super Smash final at Hagley Oval on Saturday.