Otago Volts beat Wellington Firebirds by two runs
Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
Unbelievable! The Volts have snatched victory at the death as Smith gets the wicket of Patel and then a run out the very next ball gives the Volts a 2 run win! Thanks @wgtnfirebirds for a great game 👏— Otago Cricket (@OtagoVolts) November 29, 2019
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The Volts headed into their second consecutive match on Bert Sutcliffe Oval hungry to get their campaign back on track, after Wednesday's bruising loss to the Aces.
This time, the rewards would come - fittingly, with a Neil Broom century in his 100th List A match in Volts colours.
The 36-year-old veteran was in vintage nick with his ninth List A century and seventh for the Volts.
After captain Jacob Duffy won the toss and batted, the first drop entered proceedings in the fifth over after the early loss of Nick Kelly, and powered through to the second to last ball of the match in a fine knock of 112, off 127 deliveries.
A 46-run stand with Hamish Rutherford had got the Volts going before Broom once again combined productively with Mitch Renwick in a 101-run stand for the third wicket.
Renwick reached his second Ford Trophy half century before he was caught off Malcolm Nofal in the 38th over at 161 for three.
The arrival of Anaru Kitchen at the crease delivered a turbo-boost to the run rate, Kitchen belting a quick 35 off just 21 balls to give Broom another 50-stand.
The Volts were stringing it together, the Firebirds - with Hamish Bennett back in the attack today - unable to pick up the breakthroughs quickly enough for their liking.
Earlier, Bennett's opening partner with the ball Ollie Newton - who had headed into the final round before Christmas as the season's top wicket-taker - had made the first breakthrough and, bowling the final over, he finally got anchorman Broom out as well, more than three hours down the track.
The Volts had put up a score of 262 for six on "the Bert" and the Firebirds were by no means out of the running on a pitch that had provided plenty of runs across the week.
But the Volts made a stronger start with the ball, pace men Duffy and Nathan Smith both ripping our big wickets in their opening over to have the Firebirds 2/2 with Ravindra and Fletcher back in the pavilion.
Smith was impressive, clamping down on the run rate for his side but the Volts would have had a few nerves in the stomach as Devon Conway and Michael Bracewell got going for the third wicket.
The potent pair put on 44 together before the loss of captain Bracewell on 20, just as he looked set.
Off-spinner Dean Foxcroft had done the damage and he went bang-bang, bowling Jimmy Neesham just three balls later to have the Firebirds suddenly 46/4.
The onus fell on Conway who recombined with Nofal for a fifth-wicket stand of 64.
Then, in the 28th over, bowler Michael Rippon held his breath as Conway lofted a straight drive while Foxcroft circled deep on the boundary - in the action again with a high catch to dismiss Conway on 70.
WICKET | It's another big one! Conway has hit one straight up requiring a good catch from Foxcroft, he goes for 70 and the Firebirds are 112/5 from 28 overs.— Otago Cricket (@OtagoVolts) November 29, 2019
151 more runs to defend for the Volts âš¡ï¸
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Spinners Foxcroft and Kitchen then chipped out vital wickets to ratchet up the run rate pressure on the Volts.
Nofal was still there, having kept going for his second consecutive half century, before disaster struck and he was run out on 87 with just two balls left in the innings. The Firebirds had needed just six runs off the last over, bowled by the cool-headed Smith but, after conceding a single and scrambled two, Smith took two in two balls to finish off an exciting match.
Last summer's top qualifiers were now equal third on points at the midpoint of the competition.