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|Logan van Beek||0||0||0||0||0.00|
With all teams having bright chances to qualify for the playoffs, Super Smash, New Zealand's premier domestic T20 competition, is beautifully poised. Central Stags and Otago Volts lead the points table with tight competition below them. Wellington Firebirds are breathing down their neck and will have chance to get to the top of the table in their next match. They are set to face Central Districts in the upcoming match of the tournament. The match is to be played on the Boxing Day at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Both the sides have done pretty well in the tournament so far and a win in this match could act as a catalyst for either of the two teams. With both teams likely to play to their strengths, we expect a cracker of a contest on Friday.
Central Stags got off to a flying start in both their first match as well as the tournament, but failed to sustain the momentum in the latter. Although they are still placed at the top of the table, they have certainly lost the lead they once had in the series. They have played four matches in the tournament so far and have ten points to their name with a terrific net run-rate of 1.9
The Stags came into their match against Northern Districts on the back of a couple of back to back wins, but their batting didn't seem as comfortable as it did in the opening two encounters. They were restricted to a total of just 149, which was certainly under-par on the surface of Hamilton. While rain did them a favor against the Districts, Stags faced an embarrasing defeat in their subsequent fixture.
Chasing a reasonable total of 164, which should have been chased on most days, Central Stags' batting fell like a pack of cards as the lost the match by a whopping margin of 30 runs. With the scores of 22 and 21 respectively, George Worker and Dane Cleaver were the top batsmen for the Districts.
While their batting seems to have lost momentum, their bowling has been doing pretty well. Kieren Noema Barnett was once again the pick of their bowlers and returned with superb figures of 3 for 19 in his four overs. He was ably assisted by Ajaz Patel, who, too, picked up three wickets at the expense of 23. Unless they want to lose momentum going into the second half of the tournament, their batting would have to get back to form and if they can do that, beating Central Stags would be a challenge not just for Wellington Firebirds, but for all the teams in the competition.
George Worker, Dane Cleaver, Christian Leopard, Tom Bruce, KN Barnett, Josh Clarkson, Willem Ludick, Ben Wheeler, Seth Rance, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner.
Wellington Firebirds got off to a pretty good start as they defeated Canterbury Kings in a one-sided contest. They, however, lost their second match to Central Districts as their batting failed to chase down a total of 183. With a win in their next encounter, they bounced back into the contention and are currently placed at the third spot with eight points in three matches. Their net run-rate, however, is pretty low and that could be a cause of concern for their management should things get tight at the back-end of the the league stage.
Wellington Firebirds showed their class against Otago Volts as they just managed to defend a reasonably good total on an excellent batting surface. Batting first after winning the toss, Devon Conway, Michael Pollard, and James Neesham all played extra-ordinarily well to take them to a total of 182. While they were left a tad disappointed to not to touch 200-run mark after the start they had, the total proved to be enough at the end of the day.
It was a tough day in the office for their bowlers as Neil Broom and Nick Kelly whacked almost all their bowlers around. Just when Otago Volts were looking to drive away with a win, needing just 14 runs off the last two overs, Hamish Bennet provided Firebirds with an important breakthrough of Neil Broom. James Neesham then bowled a superb last over, in which he picked up both Josh Finnie and Nick Kelly to rock Otago Volts. Firebirds eventually won the match by a narrow margin of one-run.
Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Michael Pollard, Rachin Ravindra, James Neesham, Fraser Colson, Jamie Gibson, Malcolm Nofal, Ollie Newton, Logan van Beek, Hamish Bennett.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy lineup for the upcoming Super Smash encounter between Central Stags and Wellington Firebirds
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The two sides are coming off contrasting runs in their last two matches and will be looking to stay well in the scheme of things with a win in this upcoming contest. A win for Firebirds will push them to the top of the table. While it would be the same for Central Districts as well, they'd have played five games as opposed to Wellington Firebirds, who would have played four games after this upcoming encounter. The clashes between the teams placed at the top of the table are, more often than not, full of excitement and we expect nothing different this time around as well. Wellington Firebirds have improved with every passing game whereas Central Stags' batting failed to impress in both of their last two matches. Considering that as well as the two teams on paper, we think that the Firebirds are going to win the upcoming match and end up at the top of Super Smash ladder after the next match.
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