Allen key | PHOTOSPORT

Firebirds unbeaten halfway through

It was a capital double act yet again in this Dream11 Super Smash season after unbeaten defending champions the Firebirds joined the Blaze in the University of Otago Oval winner’s circle today.

A world record T20 century from Sophie Devine was a hard act to follow for the Wellington men, but they will be well satisfied with a five-wicket over the Otago Volts - pushing the Firebirds into a four-point lead over the Central Stags.

Southern skipper Jacob Duffy had elected to bat but, of his top five, only steady Neil Broom got going with a pressure 57 off 48 balls.

Jimmy Neesham, Logan van Beek and Peter Younghusband meanwhile teamed up to tear out four wickets, the Volts behind the eight ball at 68/4 in the 10th.

That was the point at which veteran Anaru Kitchen joined Broom in the middle, and the pair heaped on a much needed 69-stand.


Kitchen did the finishing after van Beek stopped Broom in the 17th, Kitchen's unbeaten 57* off 32 balls his T20 career best for the Volts, and best knock since a 66 for the Aces in 2012/13.

He and Michael Rippon (16* off 11) got the hosts to 167 for five but, even with a fire-breathing Mitch McClenaghan in the attack, that was never going to be enough to threaten the Firebirds in hot batting form.

Twenty-one year old discovery of the summer Finn Allen thumped his third big half century in a row, and fourth of the campaign.

Allen watched on as McClenaghan (2-37) ripped out the big wickets of Devon Conway and Jimmy Neesham, while an impressive Michael Rippon (2-23) picked up Tom Blundell cheaply.


The Volts had a half-chance after all, after getting the Firebirds 107 for four after 11, if they could keep taking wickets. But the strong Allen responded by punching his sixth six off Jacob Duffy to bring the chase down to run-a-ball.

He gave McClenaghan the same treatment four balls later, a massive six lifting him into the 80s with 37 runs left to acquire. Then he got his eighth bomb, same over.

Captain Michael Bracewell (26 off 16) at the other end was enjoying the show as the other contributor in their quick 50-stand, but Allen ran out of balls to reach a maiden T20 century.

The young blaster had to settle for his new career-best 92 not out off 43 balls (five boundaries, eight sixes) as Jamie Gibson hit the winning runs in just the 17th over.

Wellington Firebirds beat Otago Volts by five wickets