Luke Ronchi back to bolster Firebirds for final

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014
Luke Ronchi
ANDREW BIRAJ/ Reuters
HE'S BACK: Luke Ronchi rejoins the Firebirds for the domestic one-day cricket final against the Northern Knights.

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Wellington will be at full strength for tomorrow's national one-day final and have been spared a joust with Black Caps pace spearhead Tim Southee.

Firebirds coach Jamie Siddons confirmed New Zealand gloveman Luke Ronchi would replace Henry Walsh in the only change to the squad from Wednesday's eight-wicket win over Canterbury in the preliminary final.

Ronchi returned home from Bangladesh yesterday with his Black Caps team-mates after their World Twenty20 exit, having missed the entire Ford Trophy campaign.

Meanwhile, two of that side will return for Northern Districts at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval, with paceman Trent Boult and allrounder Anton Devcich named in the Knights squad of 14 yesterday.

The Knights will be without three Black Caps: Southee (unavailable), Kane Williamson (heading to England for county cricket) and Corey Anderson (dislocated finger). In a statement, the Knights said: ''It was felt that Southee would benefit from a brief rest after a long season before he takes off to fulfil his IPL commitments''.

That was good news for Wellington, whose 12 includes nine current or former Black Caps while Northern have six: Boult, Devcich, captain Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling, Ish Sodhi and Graeme Aldridge. The latter will pass Robbie Hart's record of 122 one-day appearances for the Knights if he plays.

The TAB installed the Knights warm favourites yesterday, $1.65 to Wellington's $2.15 as the latter try to break a 10-year trophy drought.

Northern are looking to do the limited overs double this season after toppling Otago in the T20 final in January.

The sides met twice in the eight-round regular season for one win apiece, each away from home. Northern dismissed Wellington for 154 and won by three wickets at the Basin Reserve, then a week later the Firebirds won by the same margin after restricting the Knights to 215-8 on a turning Hamilton surface.

The final was shifted to Mt Maunganui due to maintenance being done on the Seddon Park pitch.

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- The Dominion Post

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