Rahul Shukla needed just one over to prove that his selection for this game was an inspired one. After sending off Hamish Rutherford and Brendon McCullum within the first three balls of his first over, a third wicket was gifted to him. It was a short ball and Derek de Boorder was caught in two minds whether to hook or leave it. The ball came on quicker than expected and the indecisive de Boorder merely showed his bat at the ball. The ball took the top edge and tamely lobbed up to Shukla, who couldn't believe how easy that wicket was. Otago slipped from 16 for 0 to 20 for 3 in the space of six balls.
James Neesham should have been out on 0. Kevon Cooper knew it. With Otago reeling at 30 for 4, the in-form Neesham drove at a fuller delivery from Cooper and there was very audible sound as the ball passed him. The catch was taken cleanly by the wicketkeeper and Cooper started celebrating, only to look back to see the umpire Paul Reiffel unmoved. Replays showed a thick inside edge. Neesham went on to score a quickfire 32.
Shane Watson's having trouble gripping the ball in this tournament. Two days earlier against Perth Scorchers, the ball slipped out of his hand at his delivery stride and looped to Simon Katich who swished at thin air. It happened again today to Watson, but this time the ball swirled so far from the pitch that it was headed towards point. A warning to unassuming fielders to pay attention when Watson's bowling.
For a while the Otago fielders could only watch as Ajinkya Rahane gave Royals a rapid start in their chase. Otago knew they needed to create something out of nothing to stop Royals in their tracks and it came via Nathan McCullum's sharp catching. Rahul Dravid got a thick outside edge to the left-arm spinner Nick Beard and the ball ballooned towards point. McCullum pedalled backwards and realised that the ball was evading him quickly. In a split second he turned around managed to pluck the ball on the flip. It was the inspiration Otago needed.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo