Wellington Firebirds lead competition after win

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 19:21 04/01/2014

Relevant offers

Cricket

Black Caps stare down barrel of series defeat Australia staring at heavy test defeat in Dubai Protea Dale Steyn: I can sense batsmen's fear Time to start over again for Black Caps batters Auckland hold strong hand against the Knights Millmow: Jesse Ryder not Black Caps' sole hope Dimitri Mascarenhas a Volt from blue for Otago Cricket fire still burning for batsman Neil Broom Page: Who doesn't want to see Ryder back? Gillespie and Patel aces in pack for Firebirds

The Wellington Firebirds climbed to the top of the domestic Twenty20 competition with victory over the Northern Knights at Mount Maunganui today.

Chasing 146 for victory, the hosts rarely looked like getting home and finished their 20 overs at 124-9. The win took the visitors to 20 points from eight matches to give them a small advantage at the top of the competition.

The leading side at the end of 10 round-robin matches goes directly into the HRV Twenty20 final to be played at Hamilton's Seddon Park on January 18 while the second and third-placed teams play off for a spot in the final at the same venue the previous evening.

Wellington put the pressure on the hosts by reaching 145 for six off their 20 overs after their captain James Franklin won the toss and chose to bat on the same Bay Oval wicket that saw Northern lose a low-scoring encounter against the Canterbury Wizards on Tuesday.

Some dreadful fielding marred Northern's stint in the field, with simple catches being shelled allowing Wellington to build a taxing target.

Stephen Murdoch and Franklin provided the bulk of the runs for the Firebirds, putting on 90 for the fourth wicket.

Murdoch (57) rode his luck at times, offering a couple of chances, but struck five fours and a six off 46 balls before being run out. Franklin, as usual, rarely looked hurried but produced some long hitting while also benefiting from two dropped catches. He perished in the final over for 46, compiled from just 35 balls and featuring three sixes.

Knights skipper Daniel Flynn used seven bowlers in an attempt to restrict the visitors' total, with off-spinner Jono Boult again the pick with 1-21 off his four overs.

The hosts lost wickets at the top of the order at regular intervals, tumbling to 39-4 when BJ Watling and Daniel Flynn fell in successive balls at the start of the seventh over. Watling was trapped lbw by former team-mate Brent Arnel before Flynn was the victim of a run out as Scott Styris looked to get off the mark to the first ball he faced.

Styris (29 off 29 balls) and Daryl Mitchell (31 off 31 deliveries) added 54 for the fifth wicket in reasonable time but when Stryris holed out to cover off left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock in the 16th over the Firebirds undeniably held the ascendancy.

They weren't troubled in the latter stages, with the Knights only able to manage 12 boundaries - and not a single six - in their reply.

English import Graham Napier shone with the ball, taking 3-18 off his full complement of four overs while Woodcock proved exceedingly tough to get away, finishing with 1-19 off his four.

Ad Feedback

The back-to-back defeats at Bay Oval has put the pressure on early competition Northern to make the finals at their home venue. They have 16 points from seven games, level with the Auckland Aces, who have played one game less, and tied with the defending champion Otago Volts (16 from seven games).

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which batting pair would be best at opening in ODIs for the Black Caps?

Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham

Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum

Martin Guptill and Hamish Rutherford

Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder

Jimmy Neesham and Brendon McCullum

Jimmy Neesham and Hamish Rutherford

Jimmy Neesham and Jesse Ryder

Brendon McCullum and Hamish Rutherford

Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder

Hamish Rutherford and Jesse Ryder

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content