Canterbury Wizards 224-9 (Peter Fulton 82*, Andrew Ellis 52, Scott Kuggeleijn 3-50) lost to the SKYCITY Northern Knight 225-6 after 49 overs (Daniel Flynn 73, Daryl Mitchell 39, Brad Wilson 33, Todd Astle 2-45) by four wickets
The SKYCITY Northern Knights will play in the Final of the 2014 Ford Trophy after beating the Canterbury Wizards by four wickets in their preliminary-final at Hagley Oval today.
Having been convincingly beaten at the same venue last week, the Knights put in a much improved performance to book themselves a home final. The Wizards will get the chance to be their opponent when they face the winner of the 3 v 4 preliminary-final, the Wellington Firebirds, on Wednesday at Hagley Oval.
The Wizards top-order has been its strength through the regular season, but they were undone today, with George Worker, Tom Latham and Rob Nicol falling cheaply to reduce the hosts to 36 for three.
Their position continued to look precarious at 83 for five in the 23rd over, but the experienced pair of Peter Fulton (82*) and Andrew Ellis (52) expertly steered their side out of that predicament with a 96-run sixth wicket partnership.
Ellis fell in the 44th over, but Fulton continued to anchor his side right through to the end. A total in excess of 200 gave them hope, having at one stage looked well out of reach.
Old heads would also prevail for the Knights though, with Brad Wilson (33) and Daniel Flynn (73) putting on 63 for the first wicket. While losing the odd partner along the way, Flynn anchored the innings through to the 35th over, before departing to leave the Knights 135 for four.
Daryl Mitchell (39) and Mitchell Santner (30) then took the reins for the visitors, edging their side closer. However, when both fell just short of the finish line, the Knights were in need of a couple of big hits to finish things off. Out strolled Kuggeleijn to the crease.
With two overs to go it looked like it would come down to the final few balls, but an unbeaten knock of 16 from eight balls from Kuggeleijn secured the Knights the victory with an over to spare.
It completed a huge turnaround from last week, where they were beaten by six wickets. Their reward - a home final on Saturday.