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|Logan van Beek||15||8||1||1||187.50|
|Logan van Beek||4.0||0||28||3||7.00|
The moment we were all so dearly waiting for in Super Smash is finally here. Wellington Firebirds and Auckland Aces have made it to the finale of New Zealand's premier domestic T20 competition and we are certain to have a new winner this time around. While the Firebirds qualified directly for the finale following their top of the table finish, Auckland Aces had to sweat it out against Otago Volts in the eliminator final. The two teams are now against each other, would have to put back everything that has happened in the tournament, and start afresh in the match that matters the most. Both the sides have some extraordinarily talented match-winners available at their disposal and a cracking contest is on the cards.
It's been a while since Wellington Firebirds last played a match, which didn't end on a happy note for the Firebirds. They lost their last two league matches to Canterbury Kings and Auckland Aces respectively, but still managed to finish at the top of the table.
With the likes of Devon Conway, Michael Pollard, and Jimmy Neesham doing exceedingly well for them, beating Firebirds will not be easy. Having said that, they might be a little low on confidence following a couple of back to back defeats.
In the last match they played, which coincidentally was against Auckland Aces, their batting failed to put up a challenging score despite most of them getting starts. Devon Conway, as has been the case in the tournament, was once again the pick of their batsmen and contributed with a beautifully compiled knock of 69. He was ably supported by Michael Bracewell, who scored 34 off 20 deliveries, but there was no one apart from these two who scored enough to take Firebirds to a total that could challenge the Aces.
While their bowlers got them off to a terrific start, picking up both Colin Munro and Martin Guptill, that was all. Apart from Hamish Bennett and Micahel Bracewell, who returned with the impressive figures of 14 for 1 and 26 for 1 in their respective three overs, no one could keep the Aces in control.
All in all, despite having a side that has terrific balance, the Firebirds have struggled in the crunch situations. That has a lot to do with the fact that they have been a little too over-reliant on the likes of Devon Conway, Michael Pollard, and Jimmy Neesham has hurt them when none of them has fired. They depend heavily on the trio and if they fire, things are going to be very difficult for the Firebirds.
Devon Conway, TA Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Jamie Gibson, Michael Pollard, James Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Bennett, Logan van Beek, Ollie Newton, Peter Younghusband.
Languishing at the bottom of the points table for most part of the tournament, Auckland Aces surprised one and all after qualifying for the grand finale. Having said that, they were the prime candidates to win the title, considering the side they had on paper. With a flourishing finish to the league stage, Auckland Aces finished third on the points table with 20 points to their name, and then defeated Otago Volts in the eliminator final to take the center stage in the last match of the tournament. Their net-run rate of -0.232 is an evidence of the fact that they weren't pretty dominant in the league stage.
They continued to build on their superb run as they scripted an unexpected win over Otago Volts in the eliminator final. Chasing a total of 174, Auckland Aces didn't have anyone guide them though the chase, but had enough contributions to take them across the line. Martin Guptill was superb at the top of the order and scored 43 off 31 deliveries to get them off to a flying start, but things got more and more difficult for them as the match progressed.
A superb little cameo from Ronnie Hira and O'Donnell eventually got them home with a couple of overs to spare. Their win also demonstrated the capabilities of their lower middle-order. Earlier with the ball, the likes of Mark Chapman and William Somerville bowled exceedingly well and kept the Volts to just a par score on that surface. Somerville returned with 3 wickets for 25 while Mark Chapman contributed with 2 for 32.
GD Phillips, Ben Horne, Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Craig Cachopa, Robert O'Donnell, Mark Chapman, Kyle Jamieson, Ronnie Hira, MJ Mcclenaghan, W Somerville.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team lineup for the upcoming Super Smash grand finale contest between Wellington Firebirds and Auckland Aces
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While it would be wrong to say that the two best teams qualified for the finale, it wouldn't be wrong to say that both the sides were pretty deserving if we take the whole tournament in to the context. Auckland Aces finished off the league stage with a flourish and carried the momentum into the eliminator and Wellington Firebirds were in a league of their own in the first half of the tournament. Both the sides have their strengths and weaknesses and both are going to be insignificant in this upcoming contest. The team that is able to hold onto its nerve is going to win the upcoming contest. Considering the fact that Aces have more experience available at their disposal and are coming off superb wins in their previous few matches, they are firm favorites to win the upcoming match and consequently take the Super Smash 2019 title home.
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