Dislocated finger no handicap for Hore in Otago victory
An outstanding innings of 77 by Andrew Hore guided Otago into the Shell Super Max semi-finals next week.
Otago achieved a target of 148 runs with three balls to spare to win the series 11-9 on points and will now play Wellington, the defending champion, and Auckland in next weekend's semi-finals at Eden Park's Outer Oval.
The effort by Hore was all the more impressive as he left the field during Canterbury's second innings nursing a dislocated finger as a result of attempting to catch a screaming square drive by Mark Hastings.
A call for a doctor in the house went out but none was among the crowd of about 600 so Hore, who recognised the injury was a dislocation, gritted his teeth and put it back in place himself.
"I wasn't too sure whether I could hold a bat or not. But once I hit the first couple I was away," he said.
"I have really struggled all the way through the series and changing from limited overs cricket to Max cricket has been a little harder than I thought.
"I just decided to go back to the basics and not worry about the Max hits," he said.
While he hit six sixes and eight fours, not one of them was into the Max zones.
"That's my style of game and it worked. Canterbury did play their trump cards early by bowling their best bowlers in the first innings.
"We thought anything under 150 will be gettable and, in fact, 160 was do-able," he said.
Otago, which was 23 behind on the first innings, did well to contain Canterbury in the second to 124-9. Craig Pryor was especially effective taking 4-11 off two overs at that stage. His effort backed up the first innings effort of Warren McSkimming who took 5-30 from four overs.
Mark Billcliff did a fine job to get Otago closer at the end of its first innings by hitting 51 from 18 balls.
But once it started its second innings with a 55-run partnership in the first four overs, Canterbury was always in danger of losing.
So it proved as it liked the bowling power to contain the free-scoring Otago batsmen who lost only two wickets in their chase.
Hore said the five-match idea had been a good one.
"The whole series idea has been brilliant. The organisation around the country grounds has been great. The music has added to the atmosphere. The whole thing has been a good idea.
"And we at least got to bowl more than the four balls we bowled here [in Westport] last year," he said.