A week ago, Andrew Puttick wasn't supposed to be playing in the Champions League. He wasn't considered for the original squad but came in only because Graeme Smith had pulled out. He made his selection count against Otago by smacking the tournament's first century.
Punters would have placed bets on one of the national stars to notch up a century but Puttick grabbed the headlines instead. After Herschelle Gibbs departed early, he and JP Duminy dominated the proceedings with a stand of 95.
Puttick relied more on power rather than timing to fetch his boundaries. He set the tone by slashing Neil Wagner past slip and flicking the same bowler off his pads in the opening over of the match. With the ball coming on to the bat, the pair of Puttick willfully chipped down the track to unsettle the lengths of the seamers. Puttick favoured the wide long-on boundary for his big hits. Nathan, Craig Cumming and Ian Butler looked back only to see the ball sail over the ropes. A four down to deep midwicket brought up his fifty but little did Otago know that his job was only half done at that point.
Puttick was particularly harsh on Butler, smacking 32 off 14 balls and then taking Wagner for 27 off 16. Considering that they were the quickest of the lot, it was easy for Puttick to use the pace and launch the ball to all parts. When Puttick swooped Butler over midwicket, the smile on his face indicated just how much he enjoyed batting in the middle, possibly in the form of his life. He was beaming again when he squeezed out a full delivery by Wagner to bring up a boundary to third man, and his century, off 60 balls.