Firebirds crush Canterbury by an innings

The State Wellington Firebirds inflicted a second successive defeat for the defending champions to complete an innings victory over the State Canterbury Wizards at the Basin Reserve today.

It allowed the Firebirds a measure of revenge after Canterbury won the 2007/08 State Championship final between the teams at the same venue in April.

The innings and 42-run defeat Canterbury's second loss from two matches, having succumbed to Auckland last week.

They offered little resistance today, their last seven wickets falling inside 41 overs on a low, skidding wicket for the addition of 109 runs.

While Canterbury's 224 was an improvement on their first dig of 162, it was still not within sight of Wellington's sole effort of 428 for eight declared.

The visitors began today in a seemingly hopeless situation, needing another 151 to make the hosts bat again with seven wickets in hand.

Opener Michael Papps' dismissal in the second over of the day for 40, followed soon afterwards by the loss of nightwatchman Michael Davidson for three, set the tone.

Iain Robertson scored 36, Corey Anderson 26 and captain Kruger van Wyk 23 but none could provide long-term resistance.

The surprise destroyer for the Firebirds was left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock, who took four for 24 from his seven overs, ending with figures of four for 40.

The match threw up two individual highlights for Wellington.

BLACKCAPS left-arm seamer James Franklin made a promising return after a long comeback from patella tendon surgery, taking four wickets in the match.

And captain Matthew Bell struck 146, taking the opener to 18 centuries for Wellington, the most by any player for one New Zealand province.


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