Mighty Ape Wellington Firebirds 178 (Michael Pollard 54, Grant Elliott 52, Ronnie Hira 2-17) beat Canterbury Kings 153 (Brendon Diamanti 73, Brent Arnel 2-31, Grant Elliott 2-36) by 25 runs at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Half centuries to opener Michael Pollard (54) at the start of the innings and Grant Elliott (52) at the end helped get the Mighty Ape Wellington Firebirds to an imposing total of 178. The Wellington wind was playing its part in messing up bowlers' lines and lengths and the Firebirds were able to take full advantage, with Pollard bringing up his 50 from just 31 balls.
The innings lost its way somewhat in the middle stages after Pollard's departure - Ronnie Hira was effective for the Kings, recording 2-17 including getting the dangerous Stephen Murdoch and James Franklin before Elliott and Brad Hodge (30) turned things around.
In reply, the Kings had the same struggles with the conditions, and were up against a determined Firebirds attack. The home side got key wickets early through Brent Arnel (2-31) and a Jeetan Patel wicket and run out of Henry Nicholls for 15, and it wasn't until Brendon Diamanti arrived at the crease that the Kings innings found any momentum.
Diamanti went on to make 73 from 48 balls but struggled for support, Andy Ellis (30) aside. The Firebirds bowers had the brakes on, backed up by some sharp fielding, and with the run rate required over 12 at the half way point, the writing on the wall for the Kings, who finished second by 25 runs.
The Firebirds have overtaken the Kings and sit second on the Georgie Pie Super Smash table heading into today's game v the Devon Hotel Central Stags.