The Wellington Firebirds face off against the Canterbury Kings today at Basin Reserve to play for a place in the McDonald’s Super Smash final against the Central Stags at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.
Both sides in the Elimination Final finished equal on points so we take a look at some of the numbers that could seperate them at the Basin.
The Firebirds and Kings have met twice already this season with Canterbury holding the advantage with two victories. However a simple win/loss record doesn’t tell the full story. The first encounter between the sides this season finished in a Super Over with the Kings surviving a strong chase from Wellington led by Luke Ronchi. The King’s through Edward Nuttall held their nerve and restricted the Firebirds to just 5 off their Super Over. The next encounter was just a day later with Canterbury putting on a strong batting performance at Basin Reserve to take back to back wins.
Long Levers. Big sixes. Wellington’s Michael Pollard comes into the match having hit more sixes than any player in either team with 12. The rangy middle order player is capable of clearing the ropes with the best of them.
Showing a wide range of scoring shots Henry Nicholls has led the way for the Canterbury Kings with the bat this season. Operating in the middle order the left handed batsman has played an excellent anchoring roll for his side. At home with the bigger boundaries of Hagley Oval he has turned things over well and should look to do the same in the Basin Reserve. The last time he visited the venue he top scored with 67 not out in a Kings victory.
The wise heads of captain Hamish Marshall and Michael Papps have scored a combined 512 runs in the McDonald’s Super Smash this season. Each time either has made a significant contribution with the bat the Firebirds have taken victories. If either can get going at the Basin the home side could be touch to beat. Marshall is also one of only four players to notch a hundred in the competition this season.
12 and 11
Brent Arnel enters the Elimination Final as the competition’s second top wicket taker with 12 for Wellington. Canterbury will be without their leading wicket taker Ed Nuttall who is out with injury after taking 11 wickets this season. Advantage Wellington? or will Matt Henry's return boost the Kings?
Dot balls in Twenty20 are gold for a bowling team. In Hamish Bennett, Wellington have a gold mine. 45.54 percent of Bennett’s deliveries in the competition have been dot balls. A huge asset for captain Hamish Marshall when trying to combat a team like Canterbury who will attempt to work the ball around as much as possible.