Ford Trophy: Wellington Firebirds storm home after late Otago Volts collapse

Logan van Beek and the Firebirds celebrate Volts captain Hamish Rutherford being caught during the Ford Trophy cricket match.

MARTY MELVILLE/Photosport

Logan van Beek and the Firebirds celebrate Volts captain Hamish Rutherford being caught during the Ford Trophy cricket match.

A stunning late Otago collapse saw Wellington storm home to clinch an opening round Ford Trophy cricket victory by 13 runs in the capital on Wednesday.

From 202-4 in the 40th over, chasing 256 for victory, the Volts fell in a heap to lose their final six wickets for 40 runs at the Basin Reserve.

Wily Black Caps seamer Hamish Bennett snaffled the final two wickets in successive balls to help skittle their visitors for 242 with an over to spare.

Legspinner Peter Younghusband had the most success for the Firebirds with figures of 3-56 but for the most part it looked like it would be in a losing cause as Neil Broom took charge for Otago.

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The 38-year-old former Black Caps batsman showed his experience in a measured knock of 72 which had his side well on track, requiring less than a run a ball for the final 10 overs.

It all changed with Ben Sears’ express pace as he enticed Broom to cut one in the air to third man, ending a 94-ball knock including six boundaries.

Neil Broom topscored for Otago in their Ford Trophy match against Wellington.

MARTY MELVILLE/Photosport

Neil Broom topscored for Otago in their Ford Trophy match against Wellington.

The wobble continued when Logan van Beek ran out Anaru Kitchen for 41 with a sharp direct hit when the Otago batsman was set and had the chance to finish the job himself, and the Firebirds sensed victory.

They were also minus their captain and key off-spinner Michael Bracewell who left the Basin with a bloodied middle finger on his bowling hand suffered while in the field.

Wellington’s total of 255-7 was anchored by Tim Johnson’s 73 off 87 balls and some late power hitting from former Otago allrounder Nathan Smith, who cracked three sixes in his 44 not out.

Firebirds all-rounder Nathan Smith hits out late in the home side’s innings.

MARTY MELVILLE/Photosport

Firebirds all-rounder Nathan Smith hits out late in the home side’s innings.

The dry, patchy surface wasn’t the easiest to score quickly on, evidenced by blockbusting opener Finn Allen’s 23 off 25 balls before he was removed by fellow Black Cap Jacob Duffy.

Johnson batted through to the 47th over then Smith took over with some monster strikes, including two sixes off Duffy in a breezy unbeaten 29-ball knock that pushed them over 250.

Volts left-arm spinner Michael Rippon applied the brakes in the middle order and ended with the very good figures of 4-41.

Ford Trophy round one, at Basin Reserve, Wellington:

Wellington Firebirds 255-7 off 50 overs (Tim Johnson 73, Luke Georgeson 44, Nathan Smith 44no; Michael Rippon 4-41, Jacob Duffy 2-58) beat Otago Volts 242 off 49 overs (Neil Broom 72, Anaru Kitchen 41, Dale Phillips 33; Peter Younghusband 3-56, Hamish Bennett 2-30) by 13 runs.

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