31-run over helps scorch Firebirds
You can excuse one Twenty20 shocker, but if the Wellington Firebirds turn in another one against Central Districts at the Basin Reserve on Boxing Day then the alarm bells will be ringing.
They took a towelling against Otago in Dunedin yesterday, beaten by 92 runs, and there was plenty to talk about afterward.
Emerging allrounder Scott Kuggeleijn was removed from the bowling crease for two high full tosses but that paled in comparison with the final over bowled by English import Chris Woakes.
Woakes, just last week called into the England one-day side, conceded 31 runs from the 20th over, which saw Otago's already imposing total blow out to 204-3.
There were two wides, a no ball that went for six, and two further sixes.
"By Woakes' admission it was a pretty bad over and pretty costly," coach Jamie Siddons said.
"He had been really good till then. If we had only been chasing 180 we would've been in the game."
As for Kuggeleign, he lost control of two slower balls that ended up above waist height, leaving the umpires no option but to remove him for the attack after 1.3 overs.
Chasing 205 was a tall order, though with Jesse Ryder and Luke Ronchi in the ranks anything is possible.
Ryder (37 from 28) and Tamim Iqbal (14 from 17) added 53 in seven overs but when Tamim departed it was expected Ronchi would stride to the middle.
But first came Michael Pollard then unbelievably Michael Papps.
When Ronchi eventually arrived, there were nine overs remaining and the asking rate was 14.
Had the horse bolted?
"Pollard is in there to go hard," Siddons said.
"If he can't do that, he is out of a job. We always get Ronchi in around the 10th over. If Pollard had come off then Ronchi's job would've been easier."
Ronchi managed 13 from eight balls and after him only Kuggeleijn can inflict any damage and yesterday was not his day.
Wellington are mid-table with two wins and two losses.
There are no grounds for panic, but Siddons wants better against winless Central on Boxing Day.
"That is the way Twenty20 goes sometimes," Siddons said.
"It was pretty ordinary and we've had a chat."
The Dominion Post