Canterbury’s Kings had a Thursday to forget. First they watched the Aces barge past them to the top of the table. Then they got squeezed by the Firebirds at the Basin in their own game as the Birds blasted and bowled their way to a five-wicket win.
Having opted to bat first in unseasonally cool conditions, nothing much else went to plan for Kings captain Andrew Ellis who found himself walking in at 78 for seven in the 13th.
The skipper set about pasting his side’s top score with a sorely needed 29-ball 36, with some late runs from Todd Astle also helping get the visitors up to some sort of tally, which turned out to be a barely defendable 138 for nine.
Their problem had been the classic work of crafty spinners Jeetan and Samit Patel on a deck that held up a bit, both Patels claiming 2-24 but more importantly slowing the momentum right down on the visiting royals through the middle.
In reply there was a fired-up ex-international opening pair of Luke Ronchi and Hamish Marshall getting away to a fast start, Ronchi coming off his amazing maiden ton and smashing two massive sixes before spinner Tim Johnston rejoiced in getting him caught on 25.
Marshall was run out just two balls later, but it wasn’t enough to stop the home side’s charge as Tom Blundell came in at first drop to machine out a fast half ton, 53 from 37 balls.
He fell with the Firebirds needing just one more run to win, which they duly did with nine balls to spare.