A Hamish Marshall masterclass led the Wellington Firebirds to their third win of the season as they continued to blow hot and cold in the 2016/17 McDonald’s Super Smash.
Marshall struck a match-winning, unbeaten 100 from 58 balls in round eight as the Firebirds took down the Otago Volts by six wickets in just 16.5 overs at Alexandra’s Molyneux Park.
The match was a level contest through the majority of the clash — until Marshall single-handedly swung the pendulum in the Firebirds’ favour.
Chasing 160 for victory, the Firebirds were 107/3 through 14 overs when Marshall took control.
In the space of four balls, the game was all but won as he blasted two fours and two sixes off the bowling of Josh Finnie, interspersed between two singles and two wayward deliveries which went for six wides.
28 flew from the over and the Firebirds eventually coasted home for victory just after Marshall brought up his third Twenty20 century and first for his new Wellington franchise.
Having made eight runs from his last three innings combined, Marshall's onslaught was well timed, and remarkably dominant – scoring 62 per cent of his side’s runs as no other Firebird passed 15.
He peppered 12 fours and three sixes, and stayed unbroken as the winning runs were hit by Matt Taylor, moving the Firebirds to 12 points on the Super Smash table — jumping ahead of the Volts on net run rate, and keeping alive their slim, mathematical chance of making the playoffs.
Dropping from fifth to the bottom of the ladder, the Volts missed their chance to keep the pressure on the teams above them.
A six-smashing Hamish Rutherford (47 from 31) and Michael Bracewell (32* from 21) were their best performers with the bat, but their total of 159 for four wasn’t competitive enough at Molyneux Park as Grant Elliott (1-27) and Hamish Bennett (2-29) kept the run rate down for the Firebirds.
Anaru Kitchen's 1-15 from four overs was the best return with the ball for the Volts, who are next in action on Sunday when they host the Auckland Aces. The Firebirds meanwhile travel to Hamilton to play the Knights on Friday night under lights.