Wellington Firebirds v Canterbury at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, 15-16 November 2017
RESULT: Firebirds won by five wickets. Points from this round: Wellington Firebirds 16, Canterbury 4.
Batting bonus points: Canterbury 0 (completed), Wellington Firebirds 0 (completed)
Bowling bonus points: Wellington Firebirds 4 (maximum achieved), Canterbury 4 (maximum achieved)
- Andrew Ellis & Todd Astle: 100th first-class cap for Canterbury
- Chad Bowes reached 2000 first-class runs
- Hamish Bennett claimed his fourth and fifth first-class five-wicket bags and his first and second for Wellington Firebirds; it was his first match analysis of 10 wickets
- Henry Shipley took his career best first-class bowling figures and maiden first-class five-wicket bag (previous best 2-36)
- When he caught his opposite number Cam Fletcher, Tom Blundell equalled the Firebirds' record for six dismissals in an innings and 10 dismissals in a match
- On 16, Luke Woodcock reached 7000 first-class runs for the Wellington Firebirds
Henry Shipley claimed his fourth wicket of the innings in the opening half hour, removing Iain McPeake to sit on the cusp of a potential maiden first-class five-for, the Firebirds 157 for nine. Shipley would wrap up the innings just three balls later, claiming number eleven Hamish Bennett to chalk up his career best figures of 5-37 off just 11.4 overs.
The table-topping Firebirds had been stopped on 159, a first innings lead of 41 and the first time this season they had not achieved maximum bonus points with the bat.
However, Bennett was not done with his wicket-grabbing ways, quickly snaring both Canterbury opening batsmen caught behind to have the visitors 19 for two in the second innings. Keeper Tom Blundell dove in front of slips to remove Chad Bowes, while Tom Latham edged behind on just eight to complete a lean showing.
By lunch the Firebirds were 58 for three, Logan van Beek having captured a caught behind of his own to remove Henry Nicholls cheaply as the Cantabrians-turned-Firebirds continued exerting the dominance with the ball.
Another flurry of wickets would come in a rush towards the end of the day, and by now it was the Firebirds batsmen on the receiving end in this fast-moving affair.
Canterbury had been bowled out in their second innings for 156 as Bennett swept in for yet another five-wicket bag, his second innings 5-34 giving him 10-48 for the match, his first 10-fa.
It left the Firebirds with a target of just 116 to win — on just the second day, but despite an opening stand of 36, getting there would prove no walk in the park. First drop Stephen Murdoch quickly became the second victim, then Michael Papps fell to Todd Astle just two short of a fifty.
Cue the late afternoon flurry, with Michael Bracewell and Fraser Colson both following him smartly back into the Vance Stand with the score parked on 86.
Will Williams had snared the latter two in a single over, but Tom Blundell and Logan van Beek settled things down again and pushed the Firebirds into triple digits. Now they were but a sniff from victory, and even Matt Henry couldn't stop them. Blundell belted the winning runs for the unbeaten Firebirds to chalk up a five-wicket victory over the defending champions inside two days.
A fast-moving match at the Basin suggested a day one deck in favour of the pace bowling attacks as hosts the Firebirds looked to maintain their unbeaten status against defending champions Canterbury.
Fortified with returning BLACKCAPS, Canterbury was in for a torrid first innings, with opener Chad Bowes — after almost an hour and half surviving against an attack comprising Ollie Newton, Iain McPeake and a fired-up Hamish Bennett and Logan van Beek — providing the top score of the visitors’ innings with just 29 as the stars came and went.
Bennett’s five-wicket bag (5-14) flew off just 11 overs, while van Beek (3-33) again impressed, coming off his 10-for in the previous match.
The Firebirds then rubbed some salt in by putting on 75 for their first wicket, but when Canterbury captain Ellis made the breakthrough, Michael Papps (44) caught at slip, the landslide began moving again until the fast-paced day ended with 17 wickets tumbled on the decks.
Henry Shipley had chimed in with his first three-fa at this level, and Logan van Beek scored a late run out from the deep as Matt Henry took off for a doomed third run, unable to get back to his crease in time after a calling muddle.
At 143 for seven by stumps, the Firebirds held a slender lead of 25 runs with Tom Blundell unbeaten on 33 and Ollie Newton yet to face a delivery after Jeetan Patel's wicket fell to Shipley on the last ball of the day.
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