About the Match
The league stages of the Super Smash 2017/18 is about to come to an end and there is still one place up for grabs in the Finals stages of the tournament. Both the teams playing this match, the Willington Firebirds and the Central Stags, have to win and hope that the Canterbury Kings lose their final match of the season. A long T20 season comes down to this match and could very well come down to one inspirational performance.
The defending champions have a chance to relive history and try to sneak in the Finals once again. They had played their best cricket of the last year during this time as they came from behind and shocked a lot of people to eventually win the title.
With just three wins this season, the Wellington Firebirds have not had an easy time and hoping for them to repeat the same kind of success could be asking for a bit too much. We hope the team management instills the importance of playing it one match at a time and seeing where things take them.
Wellington is ending its season with back to back matches against the Central Districts and will have to quickly forget the result of their first encounter this season. Chasing a massive total of 209, the Wellington Firebirds folded for just 153.
It was a comprehensive victory and the fact that most of the Central Stags ‘big name’ players did not score should be even more troubling the Firebirds.
The performance of Jeetan Patel with the ball is one positive that they will take from this loss, though as he gave away just 29 runs in four overs and took a wicket when everyone else around him was being carted for runs.
He and Samit Patel must take the bulk of the responsibility and try to lead from the front. The Firebirds may have lost this game chasing a big total but their own batting is not one to be taken lightly either. Match winners like Luke Ronchi, Tom Blundell, and Michael Bracewell can bounce back in the return game strongly.
The Firebirds must believe that they can put up a better performance at home to try and salvage this season of theirs.
Central Districts Stags
The Central Stags needed to win their last two matches to have any chance of making into the finals and they have started off well. The huge win against the Wellington Firebirds in their last match gives them a boost in the Net Run Rate as well although they are still a fair way behind the Canterbury Knights.
The Stags would b very pleased that they managed to put up a 200 plus total despite players like Jesse Ryder and George Worker failing with the bat. It is a testament to their strong batting that a power-packed top order is backed by players like Young, Bruce, Cleaver, and Clarkson.
We don’t think the Central Stags will tinker with what is working and look to play the same team as they did last time. While the Stags seem to have a stronger batting lineup, their bowling seems to be susceptible to pressure.
Tickner and Anurag Patel have been the standout bowlers for them this season but everyone will have to chip to make sure a strong Firebirds lineup does not get away from them.
There is everything to play for in this match and the Central Stags will be chomping at the bit to make the Finals and make up for their lost opportunity last year.
Pitch and Conditions
A sunny day with some harmless clouds hovering around has been forecast for Wellington on match day. This should mean that we get to see an uninterrupted match between two teams fighting to make to the Finals just as it should be. The pitch at Wellington is likely to be a flat one and allow for the batsmen on both sides to pay through the line with ease. We are hoping for a high-scoring thriller in this one.
The Wellington Firebirds have now lost to the Central DIstcricts Stags in four out of the last five matches. We think the Stags are likely to continue their dominance over them in this match as well and march into the finals on the back of their stronger batting.
Back the Central Districts Stags to win