Round 6 Ford Trophy: Wellington Firebirds 208/7 (Pollard 32, Day 61 not out; Bates 10-3-23-3) lost to Mondiale Auckland Aces 209/6 in 39.1 overs (Brad Cachopa 32, Craig Cachopa 44, Munro 65 not out; Arnel 3-33) by four wickets at the Basin Reserve, Wellington
The Mondiale Auckland Aces temporarily regained pole position on the Ford Trophy points table by motoring to a four-wicket win over the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve.
After being asked to bowl in overcast conditions, the Aces got on top early as the Wellington Firebirds reverted to type in a frustrating Ford Trophy campaign.
The defending champions needed to back up their win here two days ago to get back in the race. But when Michael Bates entered the Aces’ attack, key top order wickets clattered as he picked up both Michael Pollard and Stephen Murdoch in quick succession. Then James Franklin fell after a scratchy 15 to leave the Firebirds 87/4 just before the halfway mark and, despite a third half-century in five games from rearguard allrounder Alecz Day, they never recovered.
Bates was superb, three maidens among his 3-30 — with the Cachopa brothers once again taking a feast of catches between them at the Basin Reserve. They held their hosts to 208/7, then braced themselves for the swing of Brent Arnel, who delivered his third lead wicket-taking performance in a row, picking up 3-33 off his 10.
Arnel was the standout, supported by Luke Woodcock and Dane Hutchinson — who sent Jeet Raval’s middle stump cartwheeling with a yorker in the fourth over, then backed up with a maiden.
But the Aces cut them an even bigger break when captain Rob Nicol slammed the ball into his own foot, retiring hurt on 22 in the 11th over before being carted to hospital for x-rays for a suspected fracture. He took no further part in the game.
The Firebirds exerted episodes of pressure with the ball in helpful conditions, but, defending a lowish total, magic was required if they were ever to stop the Aces from picking off an unthreatening run chase. An unbeaten 65 off 63 balls from Colin Munro rubber-stamped an ultimately cosy win with the Aces having more than 10 overs to spare.
Listen to Colin Munro post-match
Round six of the Ford Trophy continues tomorrow in Gisborne where the SKYCITY Northern Knights host the second-placed Devon Hotel Central Stags.