Game Two: Wellington Firebirds beat Otago Volts by 13 runs
Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington
1 December 2021
- Jake Gibson: List A Debut for Otago Volts (previously ND)
- Nathan Smith: List A Debut for Wellington Firebirds (previously Otago Volts)
The Wellington Firebirds and Otago Volts got a white-ball taster at the Cello Basin Reserve ahead of this weekend's Dream11 Super Smash matches - the one-day Ford Trophy providing an intriguing appetiser.
Volts captain Hamish Rutherford sent in his hosts on a breezy morning, but struggled for an early breakthrough while Finn Allen got away with an uncontrolled, streaky six early in proceedings.
The hosts progressed to 44 for no loss before Allen's luck ran out, caught off Jacob Duffy after a start of 23.
The remaining opener Luke Georgeson (above) then added a further 48 runs for the second wicket with Jakob Bhula as the Firebirds looked to be headed for a decent platform.
They lost Bhula just before the halfway mark of the innings at 107/3 and, while Michael Bracewell came and went cheaply, Troy Johnson continued to impress in his career as he put his hand up with a top score of 73 (9x4, 1x6).
The hosts batted out their overs for a total of 255/7 with the help of an unbeaten Nathan Smith 44* on Firebirds debut - against his old team, and off just 29 balls.
The Volts' tweaker Michael Rippon meanwhile had a good first day with the ball, reeling in 4-41 off his 10.
The Volts lost Rutherford (23) at 41/1 and then Dale Phillips (33) became the first of leg-spinner Peter Younghusband's victims of the afternoon - before a scoreless Nick Kelly depearted just two balls later.
Younghusband would finish with 3-56, but crucially Neil Broom got a start and went on past 50 with a classic piece of ship-steadying.
The veteran first drop top-scored with 72 and saw his side past the 200-mark in the chase - before his dismissal in the 40th over triggered an ultimately critical flurry of wickets.
He had built a 48-run stand with Josh Finnie (28), then an 89-stand for the fifth with another richly experienced and calm player in Anaru Kitchen (48).
But Ben Sears had found some good bounce and a mistimed stroke ballooned to a delighted Georgeson as Broom's influence ended.
It was a tense period of the match then for the visitors - and the match also had its nervous moments for the Firebirds with Michael Bracewell suffering a hand injury.
The experienced batsman and spinner didn't bowl as captain Hamish Bennett cycled through seven other options with the ball, including himself.
Otago had needed their last 40 runs off 40 balls, with capable strikers Rippon and Jake Gibson both fresh in the middle - after Kitchen was run out short of his half ton and Max Chu caught, all in the space of four balls.
Jake Gibson was then caught cheaply off Jamie Gibson (no relation), and the the Volts found themselves with a tricky little chase at the death, eight down.
Rippon remained at his post as Duffy arrived, but good pressure from the Firebirds saw the ask climb to two a ball.
Sixteen off 10: could they hang on and do it?
The pressure continued to escalate until Bennett (2-30) went bang-bang in the penultimate over, taking the last two wickets of Rippon and Duffy with consecutive balls to leave the Volts high and dry.