Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
Mitch Renwick combined with Llew Johnson to carry Otago to a big total against Auckland. (File image)
Otago youngster Llew Johnson made the most of his second chance as he blasted the Volts to victory in their Super Smash opener against Auckland.
The 20-year-old middle-order batsman led the way with 72 off 44 balls as Otago posted 219-7, which proved to be far too much for Auckland, who lost by 45 runs.
Johnson was making his first appearance since being called into the Volts T20 side as a 17-year-old in January 2018.
He managed just 18 runs in three innings combined back then. But after starting this summer with an unbeaten 256 in a club match (thought to be an all-time Dunedin premier grade record), Johnson looked right at home at the top level on Monday, belting the Aces attack to all parts of Molyneux Park.
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He reached his half-century off just 32 balls, bringing it up with one of seven sixes as well as finishing with two fours.
The day began well enough for Auckland as they won the toss and elected to bowl. But it didn’t take long for that decision to come into question as Otago hit 20 off the opening over.
Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom added another 14 in the following over and reached 41-0 before Ollie Pringle removed Rutherford (25 off 13) in the fourth.
Broom continued to attack, finishing with a quick-fire 30 off 13, and Nick Kelly added 27 off 18, but it was Johnson who managed to kick on.
He put on a 77-run partnership with Mitch Renwick, who smashed 42 off 22 before Johnson carried the hosts past 200.
He was eventually dismissed in the final over attempting to hit Danru Ferns over long-on. Ferns finished with 3-43 but Glenn Phillips was the only Aces bowler to truly contain the Otago batsmen, recording tidy figures of 2-22.
Auckland started the chase poorly as Matt Bacon, who took 3-18, sent Graeme Beghin packing for four.
Sean Solia (30 off 29) and William O’Donnell (23 off 15) steadied the ship but three quick wickets for just 24 left the visitors in a hole they were never able to climb out of.
Ben Horne kept the Aces hanging around with a maiden T20 half-century but a lack of support meant they never threatened the target.
The result was Auckland’s second consecutive loss to start the season, having gone down to Wellington on Chrismas Eve. They will look to break their duck on Thursday against the Central Stags, while Otago face Canterbury on Tuesday.
AT A GLANCE
At Molyneux Park, Alexandra: Otago Volts 219-7 (Llew Johnson 72 off 44, Mitch Renwick 42 off 22, Neil Broom 30 off 13; Danru Ferns 3-43, Glenn Phillips 2-22) beat Auckland Aces 174 off 19.5 overs (Ben Horne 62 off 35, Sean Solia 30 off 29) by 45 runs.
Stuff MVP points: Llew Johnson 3, Mitch Renwick 2, Glenn Phillips 1.