About the Match
Wellington registered its first win of the season in an emphatic manner against Auckland by 33 runs and now has 4 points in its kitty; the two teams will now play against each other in the reverse match at Auckland on 24th December. Wellington put up a tremendous show with bat and ball, posting a 174-run target for the table-toppers and then going on to defend it in a superb fashion; they have received a much-needed morale boost and will try to repeat the performance here. Auckland with 16 points in their bag after 4 straight wins had been invincible till now and will try to fight back on home turf on Saturday.
They suffered a humiliating defeat against Wellington in the last match after winning 4 matches in a row; chasing 174 proved to be an uphill climb after the top-order batsmen fell quickly. Colin Munro was the top-scorer with 38 runs while mark Chapman and Grobbelaar tried to revive the innings but others like Phillips, Nicol, Grandhomme and Raval failed to fire. Earlier, the bowlers did well to take regular wickets but they couldn’t stop the opposition’s run-flow.
Against Canterbury, spinner Tarun Nethula claimed a superb 4-18 which demolished the opposition; fast-bowlers Mills and Grobbelaar took 3 wickets each and helped restrict them to 150, which the batsmen chased down easily thanks to a heroic 72 off 35 by Grandhomme. The top-order hasn’t been building steady partnerships in recent outings but they have good resources to bounce back.
They have a good mix of in-form spinners and speedsters, who can take advantage of home conditions to dominate the opponents here. Rob Nicol could lead from the front and with help from Phillips, Munro, Raval and Chapman they can try to challenge Wellington in the upcoming match.
They were the underdogs in the match against Auckland, but came out all guns blazing to stun the opponents and win their first match of the season. Wicket-keeper batsman Luke Ronchi posted a brilliant 79 off just 39 to steer the innings to 173 with good support from Michael Papps, who scored an unbeaten 62 off 51. Although Marshall and Elliott yet again failed to fire, Ronchi and Papps did extremely well to keep their nerves together and get a competitive total on board.
Medium pacer Anurag Verma and fast-bowler Brent Arnel claimed 3 wickets each to demolish the Auckland top-order while spinners Luke Woodcock and Jeetan Patel took 3 wickets between them to stifle the opponents at 140 all-out. They put up a determined and disciplined attack, and look well placed to repeat the winning combination again.
Against the Stags, the batsmen started chasing 182 runs on a positive note with Marshall scoring a well-made half century but others down the line failed to step up and they lost the match by 9 runs. The recent win has boosted their morale and they will try to continue with the winning attitude.
Wellington managed to dominate Auckland in their last encounter but the hosts will be now geared up to take revenge for the humiliation; although both teams have strong performers who could post a stiff challenge, we feel that Auckland with the home advantage is better placed to win.