Firebirds rip through Wizards

Wellington Firebirds beat the Canterbury Wizards by seven wickets at Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Scott Kuggeleijn picked up his first List A five wicket bag at Hagley Oval in Christchurch today, helping the Wellington Firebirds to a comprehensive seven wicket victory over the Canterbury Wizards.

Kuggeleijn ripped through the Wizards top-order early on to have them reeling at 26 for three. Starts from Rob Nicol (22), Shanan Stewart (41) and Brent Findlay (28) pushed the home side past the 100 mark, but the accuracy of the Firebirds bowlers put constant pressure on them. It paid off, with the Wizards bowled out for 143 after 38.1 overs.

While Kuggeliejn led the charge with career best figures of five for 24 from 6.1 overs, he had plenty of assistance from the other end, with Mark Gillespie, Tipene Friday and Luke Woodcock all adding to their wicket tally.

The Firebirds response was swift, with the in-form Michael Papps (47) quickly taking the game away from his former team. Grant Elliot (44) and Jesse Ryder (38*) also produced useful cameos, with the latter closing out the game alongside James Franklin (7*) after 21.3 overs. The bonus point victory puts the Firebirds back in the top four, while the Wizards drop down to third.

Auckland Aces beat the Devon Hotel Central Stags by 211 runs at Eden Park No. 2, Auckland

The Auckland Aces today assured themselves a place in the Ford Trophy playoffs, recording a resounding 211 run victory over the Devon Hotel Central Stags at Eden Park No.2 in Auckland today.

Having won the toss and opted to bat, the Aces compiled 285 in the first-innings, thanks to a strong showing from the middle-order. Opener Anaru Kitchen got things rolling with 42 from 50, before a fifth wicket partnership worth 102 between Colin Munro and Colin de Grandhomme guaranteed the home side would finish with a respectable total.

De Grandhomme was the first to depart for 60 in the 32nd over, while Munro clubbed four sixes before he was dismissed for 78 in the 39th. Dusan Hakaraia added 34 late on, but the Stags managed to limit the damage in the dying stages by having the Aces all out after 47.5 overs. Carl Cachopa was the chief wicket-taker with figures of three for 35 from 7.5 overs.

In reply, the Stags pursuit was torn apart by a brilliant display from the Aces bowling attack. A first-wicket stand of 26 between Jeet Raval (17) and Jamie How (19) gave the Stags a healthy starting point, but a significant collapse ensued, with Chris Martin beginning the onslaught when he dismissed How in the fourth over.

From that point on wickets began to tumble. Martin led with three scalps in his eight overs for 33,
while Kyle Mills, Michael Bates and De Grandhomme all snared two wickets apiece. 

SKYCITY Northern Knights beat the Otago Volts by 92 runs at Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui

The SKYCITY Northern Knights picked up a crucial 92 run victory over the Otago Volts at Bay Oval in Mt Maunganui today, lifting them to second on the Ford Trophy points table.

Daniel Flynn made a brilliant 135 from 137 balls to justify the Knights decision to bat and led them to 301 for seven at the end of their allocated overs. His co-opener Anton Devcich (70) provided the most support, with the pair putting on 181 for the first wicket.

Having been headed for a mammoth total, three quick wickets in as many runs somewhat arrested the Knights momentum. A measured and unbeaten 48 from 44 balls from Jono Hickey got the hosts back on track and allowed them to creep past the 300 mark.

The Volts chase got off to a horror start, losing two wickets in the opening three overs. Neil Broom (45) and Jimmy Neesham (52) settled things down with an 86 run third-wicket partnership, before both players fell in quick succession.

The middle-order made some contribution, but the loss of frequent wickets gave the Knights the upper-hand and they capitalised. Ish Sodhi took two important wickets late on, while JJ Boult helped effect a run-out and had Nick Beard stumped to dismiss the Volts for 209.

It gave the Knights a bonus point and elevated them to second on the points table with just two rounds remaining.

Ford Trophy points table

Auckland Aces  21
Northern Knights 18
Canterbury Wizards 15
Wellington Firebirds 13
Central Stags   8
Otago Volts   4


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