About the Match
Both Wellington and Auckland suffered defeat against Northern Knights recently and are looking forward to starting afresh when they meet each other at Auckland on 24th December for the 10th match of the series. While Auckland is placed 4th with 4 points, Wellington is standing at No. 3 with 6 points; the hosts will be eager to bounce back with a win here in front of their home crowd. Wellington had earlier defeated Northern Knights by a whopping 32 runs but succumbed to the same opponent on Wednesday by a meager 1 run margin. Auckland lost the match against Knights by 7 runs but had defeated Central Districts by 5 wickets in the opening game of the season.
They came close to chasing a massive target of 215 against Northern Knights but fell short by 7 runs despite a power-packed performance by wicket-keeper Glenn Phillips who scored 65 off 38 and a quick fire 42 off 20 by Robert O’Donnell. Mark Chapman and Colin Munro did well at the top to build a good foundation, but they lost the momentum in the slog overs. Earlier, fast-bowler Ben Lister claimed 3-30 while others like Sam Curran and Colin Munro provided one wicket each. Spinners Tarun Nethula and Teja took 3 wickets between them but they couldn’t stop the run-flow of the Knights.
Against Central Districts, the bowlers did well to restrict them to 192 and the batting line-up fared well to chase down the target with more than an over to spare thanks to a well-made half-century by O’Donnell. Colin Munro and Glenn Phillips started the innings on a positive note, registering an 80-run opening stand while Ben Home played a useful knock of 31 off 24 to help win the match by 5 wickets.
They are a strong unit with experienced players like Munro, Chapman, Curran, Phillips and in-form bowlers. With the home advantage to their side, Auckland could do well on Sunday.
The batsmen put up a dismal show while chasing a humble target of 146 runs against Northern Knights, and lost the match by 1 run after players like Hamish Marshall, Stephen Murdoch, Samit Patel and Jeetan Patel were struck out cheaply by the Knights. Devon Conway did well to post a well-made half-century while Luke Woodcock posted 39 off 28 but a string of wicket dismissals caused havoc in the lower order and they were lost at sea. Earlier, spinners Samit Patel and Jeetan Patel took 5 wickets between them while medium-pacer Anurag Verma dismissed one wicket to contain the Knights at 145.
Batting first against Knights in an earlier contest, captain Hamish Marshall did well to score 48 runs while Michael Bracewell posted 56 off 28 to take the total to 176 runs. Samit Patel scored 31 runs and took a wicket later to help win the match by 32 runs. Speedsters Hamish Bennett and Anurag Verma took 5 wickets between them while Logan van Beek dismissed one opponent to wrap up the match.
Overall, Wellington has done well till now and could prove to be a formidable force to reckon with in the upcoming match.
Both sides have a balanced mix of pace and spin, and this could turn out to be a contest between the bowlers. While Wellington could pose a challenge here, we feel that the hosts are better placed to win.