The Wellington Firebirds remain atop the Ford Trophy ladder after a comprehensive five-wicket win over the Otago Volts at the Basin Reserve this afternoon.
How it happened
• Otago won the toss and decided to bat first after amassing 340/7 doing so in their last outing. Although Michael Rippon fell for 14, rookie opener Gregor Croudis put together his best Ford Trophy innings to date, making 41 as Otago reached 70/1 through 14 overs.
• Jeetan Patel started to make inroads however, trapping Croudis lbw and having Sean Eathorne smartly caught behind by BLACKCAPS wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, who was playing in his first game back from injury.
• It was a lesser known Firebird who did the bulk of the damage though, as Iain McPeake tore through the Volts middle order. The 25-year-old seamer was playing just his third Ford Trophy game, but took 4-33 and bowled three maidens in a superb 10 over spell.
• McPeake bowled an excellent line as he dismissed Michael Bracewell, Brad Wilson and Josh Finnie, all caught behind by Ronchi, and had Anaru Kitchen taken at second slip by Michael Papps. Luke Woodcock chipped in with the wicket of Derek De Boorder and Otago had slumped to 114/8.
• Christi Viljoen continued a decent season with the bat by hitting a run-a-ball 29, but the damage was done as the Volts were rolled for 153, with Wellington being inserted before lunch.
• Papps fell before the break, but rapid contributions from Tom Blundell (28), Hamish Marshall (42) and Ronchi (31) ensured the Firebirds made quick progress.
• Impressive bowling from Viljoen (3-31) and 18-year-old Nathan Smith (3-42) gave Otago regular wickets to keep them in with a slim chance, but their total was never enough as Wellington wrapped up a win in the 26thover.
The Firebirds now travel to take on Canterbury at Hagley Oval in the final round on Wednesday, while the Volts host Northern Districts at University of Otago Oval.