Just a week after turning 20, New Zealand Cricket's rising star Rachin Ravindra has scored his maiden List A century with a powerhouse 130 off just 109 deliveries, together with a brace of wickets to hand the Auckland Aces their first defeat of The Ford Trophy season.
The Aces' loss saw the competition lead change hands, Canterbury now top of the table after having beaten the Otago Volts earlier in the afternoon with a second bonus point victory in the space of two rounds.
Logan van Beek celebrates a vital late blow | MBUTCHER
The Firebirds' victory was meanwhile a big-scoring, oscillating, nailbiting affair for both sides, with a ballistic Colin Munro century and 155-run opening stand with Martin Guptill (76) getting the Aces off to a brilliant start of their own as they looked to chase down the Firebirds' third highest Ford Trophy total of all time, 344 for five.
The only higher Wellington Firebirds totals have been 365 and 352 for four - both posted in the 2012/13 season.
Today, the young Ravindra led the way against a calibre attack that included BLACKCAPS quick Lockie Ferguson and Test spinner Will Somerville, dominating an opening stand of 222 that he shared with Andrew Fletcher (75 off 104).
The prodigious pair posted a new Wellington Firebirds record for the first wicket, which had stood previously at 205* (Mark Douglas and John Aiken against Canterbury at the Basin Reserve in 1994/95).
Ravindra hadn't been born when that previous record had been set and, in just his second one-day List A appearance for the Firebirds.
He came within an inch of hauling in two names just above him in the top 10 - his teammate Fletcher who made an unbeaten 132* on debut last season, and former BLACKCAPS captain Stephen Fleming's 131 in 2003/04 - before Ravindra was stumped advancing down the wicket to spinner Somerville.
Colin Munro and Martin Guptill were also involved in a first wicket record for their side, their 155-run partnership equalling the mark for the Aces against the Firebirds that had been set by Matt Horne and Llorne Howell in 2001/02.
Spinner Ravindra himself broke their opening stand as he got one past Guptill to tickle the stumps, but Munro blasted onwards, on a good deck in fine but windy conditions, to take his side to a solid 230/2 by the time he departed caught off Jeetan Patel in the 31st over.
The Aces were cruising until a dramatic flurry of wickets in the last 10 overs brought the Firebirds right back into the hunt.
Allround duo Jimmy Neesham and Logan van Beek each picked up a wicket in their last over, and with Neesham having conceded only three runs off the 49th, the 17-run ask proved too much for the Aces' last pair who managed to scramble nine runs off van Beek's 50th, but finished seven runs shy at 337 for nine.
The win lifted the Firebirds to third on the table.
Rachin Ravindra made his List A debut last season for New Zealand A, before he had even played Domestic cricket.
His previous best score in six matches was 57, scored on his Wellington Firebirds Ford Trophy debut against the Otago Volts in Queenstown on Thursday last week.
OTHER ROUND THREE RESULTS
Hagley Oval, Christchurch
CANTERBURY beat the Otago Volts by 117 runs
NORTHERN DISTRICTS beat the Central Stags by 5 wickets
Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln