WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS beat NORTHERN DISTRICTS by 17 runs
21 February 2021
Basin Reserve, Wellington
The Wellington Firebirds crucially kept themselves in The Ford Trophy running with the second of their two back-to-back wins over joint leaders Northern Districts.
It was just what the hosts had needed at the Basin, with just six points separating the top five teams by the end of Sunday, and the Auckland Aces having meanwhile stormed up the charts in Auckland into third.
Firebirds captain Troy Johnson had again won the toss, batting first for a total of just 188 on a used deck.
It was a cautious innings and, apart from Tom Blundell (29), Jakob Bhula (47) and Michael Bracewell (and unbeaten 64 off 82) no one got going - the side collapsing after Bhula's departure at 115/3, leaving Bracewell to watch a stream of teammates come and go as the doors swung regularly at the changing rooms.
Bhula (3-13) would later play a key role with the ball, however, the offie taking three late wickets to ensure ND fell just short, with more than an over left.
For ND it had been a team effort with the ball, the change bowlers Matt Fisher impressive with 3-26 off his 10 and Brett Hampton (below) a useful 3-39.
Scott Kuggelelijn came back and picked up 2-32 at the death and Anurag Verma 2-30 off his eight after having had Finn Allen caught and bowled for just seven in the fourth over, running across to midwicket to collect the skied edge.
It should have been game on for ND, but again no one got going in their side - and meanwhile legspinner Peter Younghusband’s tidy 2-20 off 10 was crucial for the Firebirds in keeping the pressure applied, together with his three catches (below).
Opener Jeet Raval top-scored with just 37 before the visitors were bowled out in 48.4 overs, a chance to go top again gone begging.