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|Logan van Beek||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Logan van Beek||4.0||0||19||2||4.75|
The group stages of the Super Smash T20 are nearing their end as every team gets ready to play its final two matches. The Wellington Firebirds will be taking on the Central Districts Stags in this match. The teams are right next to each other in the Super Smash T20 standings with the Central Stags on third place and the Wellington Firebirds on fourth.
Since the top-3 teams qualify for the Super Smash T20 Playoffs, this match is vitally important for both teams. A loss in this game will mean curtains for the Wellington Firebirds hopes.
The Wellington Firebirds registered an important win in the last match while the Central Districts Stags were crushed by the Northern Knights. The Wellington Firebirds are going to be without Jimmy Neesham in this match who has been called up for New Zealand international duty and that is going to be a big loss.
The Wellington Firebirds have won three out of their seven completed matches in this season of the Burger King Super Smash. The side has been way too inconsistent for its liking and this is why it has been stuck in the middle tier with other much weaker teams.
The loss of Jimmy Neesham ahead of this crucial match is a big one for the Wellington Firebirds. He provides the brute hitting power in the middle and has been very effective with his bowling as well. All is not doom and gloom, though.
Wellington Firebirds showed in their previous game that they could reach a total of 200 plus without Jimmy Neesham. In that match, Devon Conway scored 105 from just 60 balls and Tom Blundell scored 79 off 44 balls to propel their side to 221.
Neesham only scored 17 coming in at the death overs.
With these two batsmen showing form and Michael Bracewell have an excellent Super Smash T20 season, the Wellington Firebirds have plenty of power in their batting unit. The likes of Troy Johnson, Luke Woodcock, and the others can contribute with some runs down the order but they have to be regarded more as a bonus than anything else.
The bulk of the runs will have to come from the top-order.
The bowling for the Wellington Firebirds is led by Jeetan Patel. He most often bowls in the power play and keeps the runs down. With some of the top-loaded batting lineups in the Super Smash, Jeetan Patel ability to pick wickets at the start of the inning is invaluable.
Hamish Bennett, Ollie Newton, Ben Sears, and Rachin Ravindra played in the previous game. Ravindra took three wickets to his name but almost everyone was very expensive.
Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, TA Blundell, Luke Woodcock, Troy Johnson, Rachin Ravindra, Logan van Beek, Ollie Newton, Jeetan Patel, Ben Sears, Hamish Bennett.
The Central Stags suffered a massive batting failure in their previous game. They were chasing a 200 plus total against the Northern Knights and ended up being bowled out for just 99 runs. This can happen on occasions when early wickets fall and the run rate keeps climbing.
We don’t think the Central Stags will be overly concerned with that performance.
They actually have a very good batting lineup led by Will Young, Tom Bruce, and George Worker. Will Young has been talked about as a potential New Zealand international opener in place of Colin Munro while Tom Bruce is definitely far away from a call-up either.
Both of these batsmen are the leading run-getters for the Central Stags this season and have been in excellent touch. They can play the long inning and continue to strike the ball at an astonishing rate at all stages of the match.
George Worker has been very disappointing in this season of the Super Smash T20. As one of the senior players in the side and someone who has previously dominated this competition, a lot was expected of George Worker. He seems to have lost his confidence and is unsure of how to approach the inning. The Central Stags will be hoping desperately that he can turn his fortunes around and lead the batting along with the other senior players.
Dean Foxtrot, Kieran Noema-Barnett, and Josh Clarkson are all very talented players in the side as well.
The bowling for the Central Stags is led by Ajaz Patel, Ben Wheeler, and Blair Tickner. Thankfully for the Central Stags, Tickner is probably going to be available for their next couple of matches before joining the New Zealand T20 squad.
There is a lot of quality in the side and we don’t think one poor outing should affect the confidence of the side too much.
Will Young, George Worker, Dean Foxcroft, Tom Bruce, Josh Clarkson, Doug Bracewell, Ben Wheeler, Bayley Wiggins, Seth Rance, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
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The Super Smash T20 match between the Wellington Firebirds and Central Stags is going to be played at the Basin Reserve, Wellington. The forecast for the match is quite good although there are some showers predicted late in the day. Hopefully, the match would be done and dusted with before the rain arrives.
The pitch at the Basin reserve is excellent for batting. We are expecting another high-scoring match between the two sides thanks to the abundance of power hitters in both teams. A score of 200 may be just about par.
The two sides are pretty evenly matched and the contest should be quite close. We think, however, that the Central Districts have more depth in batting and a better bowling attack than the Wellington Firebirds.
Back the Central Districts Stags to win.
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