Career best for Louis Delport | PHOTOSPORT

Rare win for Aces puts heat on Firebirds

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2022/23 • ROUND 8

WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS lost to AUCKLAND ACES by 7 wickets

Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington

25 January 2023

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Selected milestones

List A debut: TR Davies (umpire)

Louis Delport: Career best List A bowling

 

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The Auckland Aces proved you should always expect the unexpected in cricket as they snatched just their second win of The Ford Trophy season at their eighth attempt - and punctured the Firebirds' own campaign in this bottom of the table clash.

The Firebirds sorely needed a win to climb back into the pack above them, but went down hard as the Auckland Aces found a way to dominate with both ball and bat.

Aces captain Robbie O'Donnell had won the toss and bowled at the Basin, but Wellington got off to a good start with a 79-run opening stand between Rachin Ravindra (a breezy 30) and Luke Georgeson (52 off 83 balls which proved to be his team's best score).

The opening attack of Kyle Jamieson - his first Ford Trophy appearance of the summer - and Ross ter Braak had gone without reward, but when the spinner with the magic dance moves, Louis Delport, came on in the 15th over, he had success with just his second delivery.

Delport kept things tight as his spell developed, and the pressure saw him strike again to remove Georgeson shortly after posting his half century, at 104/3.

With leg-spinner Adi Ashok operating at the other end, the Firebirds were under pressure to lift the scoring rate against the spin twins who were meanwhile clamping it down.

Nick Kelly and Nathan Smith began to find the boundary, starting on a promising stand for the fifth wicket, but it was nipped off at 39 as they fell in successive overs.

The tail chipping in, the Firebirds made it to the last over before they were dismissed for 219, Delport (4-29) finishing with his first four-fa in List A one-dayers.

Wellington needed early wickets to return serve, but they didn't get them.

Veteran opener George Worker was in his element, and carried his bat through the chase to tickle the winning runs to the boundary as he finished unbeaten on 91 not out, with more than six overs in hand.

He had shared a 45-run opening stand with the quick-scoring Cole Briggs before a definitive 116-run second-wicket stand with Will O'Donnell (64), after which just a further 61 runs were needed with plenty of wickets in hand.

While the victory will have felt good, it did nothing for the defending champion's position at the bottom of the table, while the Firebirds, still in fifth spot, now need to win at least once, and likely twice, in their two remaining rounds if they are to squeak into the top three for Finals, with their fate now not entirely in their own hands.

They will meet the Aces again in the last round, while a big clash with the Volts back at the Basin looms next week.

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