About the Match
The fortunes have turned for Wellington and Central Districts with the former winning its last two matches after being on a losing streak right from the beginning of the series while Central Districts lost its last two matches after being on a winning spree. While Wellington has 8 points they continue to be at the bottom of the table whereas the Stags are in the second position with 14 points. Both teams have good performers and would be eager to dominate each other on Boxing Day; when they met each other last time around, Central Districts had won the contest by 9 runs. It needs to be seen if the hosts can redeem themselves here or if the Stags bounce back with a win here.
Wicket-keeper batsman Tom Blundell yet again proved to be a strong pillar with the bat as he scored 61 off 41 deliveries while others in the top-order fell like a pack of cards. Michael Pollard supported well to keep the scoreboard ticking with a brilliant 74 off 36, and together they steered the innings to a competitive 182 against Auckland.
The bowlers then stifled the opposition thanks to a wonderful spell by spinners Luke Woodcock and Jeetan Patel, who took 3 wickets between them, and speedsters Grant Elliott and Brent Arnel who took one scalp each. They kept the pressure on Auckland batsmen and helped win the match by a narrow 2 runs.
In the previous game against the same opponent, medium pacer Anurag Verma had registered figures of 3-28 to contain Auckland and with good support from pacer Brent Arnel, who took 3-31, they won the match by a massive 33 runs. Batsmen Michael Papps and Luke Ronchi had performed well to take the total to 173 while the bowlers combined well to dominate the opposition. They have done well in recent outings and would be determined to keep the momentum going here.
Mahela Jayawardene’s heroics yet again failed to clinch the victory for the team, this time against Knights as the batting line-up failed to chase down 198 runs. The experienced Lankan scored a quick fire 64 off 36, while others like George Worker, Will Young, Tom Bruce and Josh Clarkson tried to keep the runs flowing; however, they failed to come out all guns blazing and fell short by 10 runs.
Bowlers put up a dismal show as Ryan McCone and George Worker put up a dismal show while Jayawardene’s cameo with the ball failed to impress. Spinner Marty Kain took a wicket while medium pacer Blair Tickner took 2 wickets but they couldn’t stop the Knights from setting a huge total. Against Otago, they suffered heart break after an explosive chase for 250 runs thanks to Jayawardene’s brilliant 116 off 56 balls. Tom Bruce supported well with 61 runs but they lost the match by a painful margin of 1 run.
The bowlers could try to put up a more disciplined effort which would give their in-form batting line-up a little more room to fight; they have experience as well as youthful talent to bounce back.
Wellington may have lost the last encounter with Central Districts but going by their recent form, the hosts are in a good rhythm with bat and ball. Central Districts have a few experienced players who can help Districts come back into the contention with a much-needed win