Wellington Firebirds beat Canterbury by three wickets
Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington
4 February 2022
- Logan van Beek 100 List A wickets
The Wellington Firebirds made a strong statement in the resumption of The Ford Trophy, chasing down the defending champion's 218/8 with ease - eventually.
Captain Michael Bracewell had sent Canterbury in and quickly got a breakthrough from Ollie Newton who struck in his first over of the day.
But Canterbury's remaining opener, Chad Bowes, was in for the long haul - and would go on to prop up the innings as wickets kept falling around him.
BLACKCAPS Daryl Mitchell and Tom Latham were big cheap wickets for Logan van Beek and Jimmy Neesham respectively as Canterbury got themselves in a bit of a hole early at 45/3.
Bowes found a partner in Leo Carter, however, and the pair repaired the innings with an 82-stand for the fourth wicket across some 16 overs.
Spinner Rachin Ravindra entered the attack in the 24th over and struck in his next, Carter caught for 31.
Canterbury captain Cole McConchie took over the partnership duties, and looked to be steadying things again before Neesham had him caught in the 37th at 163/5.
Bowes was still going strong, patiently chipping away against a good attack enjoying the Basin's conditions.
The start of the 41st over saw him clip a single off Bracewell to move to 99, but horror struck later in the over as he watched himself getting caught on the same score, missing out on a seventh List A century by one run.
It was that kind of day for Canterbury.
They batted out their overs for 218/8, Will Williams swinging his bat for six off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Then Finn Allen strode out after lunch and made it look easy.
The powerful young man struck two boundaries off Matt Henry's opening over and Ravindra followed suit against Henry Shipley.
Ravindra bumped a six off Henry in just the seventh over and then both of them took sixes off Ed Nuttall to move to a good start of 63/0 after just 14 overs.
Oh, and then Allen smacked another one off Will Williams next over.
It was a 90-run opening stand that set the Firebirds' chase up beautifully, but Canterbury was about to strike back as the Firebirds unravelled in the middle.
Ravindra was stumped off a wide, then Devon Conway came and went for a duck next over: 91/2.
Allen was the next to depart, after a 65-ball 68.
Bracewell and Tom Blundell tried to start again, Bracewell popping a six off McConchie early.
But he soon lost Blundell to Shipley at 125/4 and then Neesham was run out in calamitous fashion at 134/5: the Firebirds were making it harder than it needed to be for themselves, against a Canterbury attack that kept challenging.
Bracewell, too, departed in the 30th after a start, then Nathan Smith and Troy Johnson put together a little partnership of 23 for the seventh wicket that helped get their side back on track.
Smith saw it through the end, combining in an unbroken 56-run stand with fellow allrounder Logan van Beek to snuff out any of Canterbury's remaining hopes of sneaking a victory, ticking off the run chase in just the 43rd over.
Clinical it wasn't, but their fourth win from five rounds was in the bag and took the Firebirds to 17 points, more than any other side.
They still sit in second spot on the table - with the Volts-Stags washout in Dunedin enough to keep the Stags in the top slot, the table ranked by average points per game this summer.