James How steers his side to 29-run win over Central Districts in HRV Cup
The Wellington Firebirds hopes of making it to the finals of the HRV Cup were shattered, after defending champions Central Districts defeated the hosts by 29 runs at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. Chasing a daunting total of 192
for victory, the Firebirds could amass only 163 runs from their allotted quota of 20 overs with four wickets still intact.
Wellington skipper Grant Elliott won the toss and opted to field first. After being put in to bat the visitors lost Peter Ingram on the 10th ball of the match. However a three-figure stand between Elliott’s opening partner
Jamie How and Grant Worker for the second wicket, set a strong platform for an intimidating total. Both batsman posted put together a 109 run stand to take the side to 124 for one, with skipper Jamie How the main contributor. How cleared the boundary 15 times
– six sixes and nine fours – in his 42-ball innings that earned him 96 runs.
That soon became 124 for two, when Ingram’s fluent opening partner was caught by Neal Parlane off Jeetan Patel, just four runs short of a hard-earned century. Patel struck back thrice in his ensuing overs, and three careless run-outs
kept the tourists middle-order in check, but the assault of their captain in the opening 10 overs was enough to steer the side to a competitive total of 192 for eight. Right-arm off-break bowler, Jeetan Patel led the Wellington attack with four for 27 from
his spell of four overs, while Harry Boam and Ronald Karaitiana picked up a wicket each.
The hosts got off to a steady start in their run chase, scoring 38 runs from four overs. Michael Mason earned the Stags their first breakthrough after Luke Wright was caught by Doug Barcewell. The 25-year-old import from England scored
a quick 24 runs from 13 balls, hitting three fours and a six.
Ian Blackwell then wrecked the hosts middle-order claiming three crucial wickets, including a double strike in the 16th over, as the opposition batsmen failed to build on their starts. Wellington
skipper Elliott top scored with a 20-ball 30, as the hosts could only reach 163 for six in their 20 overs to hand the Central Districts an easy 29-run win. They now have a chance to make it to the final of the tournament, where they will face Auckland. The
defending champions are second in the points table, two points ahead of Northern Districts, the other franchise competing for a berth in Sunday’s final with one round of matches remaining. The match between Otago and Canterbury was abandoned without a ball
being bowled due to rain.