Wellington Birds look to soar higher in the points table!
We are backing Wellington Firebirds to win!
Two of the stronger sides in the Super Smash 2019-20 - Wellington Firebirds and Central Stags, would be squaring off in the 6th match of the ongoing T20 season; a contest which could easily be presumed as a cracker of a duel considering both the teams' past rivalries and performances in the recent outings.
Led by Michael Bracewell, Wellington Firebirds sealed a six-wicket win in the previous outing against Canterbury. Spinners Jeetan Patel (3/16) and James Neesham (2/24) delivered impressive performances in the first innings which was followed by the unbeaten 27-ball 38 from Rachin Ravindra alongside Michael Pollard (27) and skipper Michael Bracewell (32*) in the second innings, thereby chasing a total of 130 set by the rivals.
Central Stags, on the other hand, gave a glimpse of their destructive laying potency in the outing against Northern Knights as they posted a total of 221 in the first innings, courtesy the combined batting efforts from the top to the middle-order batsman. In response, their rivals could score merely 101 runs, with spinners Ajaz Patel (3/21), Seth Rance (1/10), and all-rounder Kieran Noema-Barnett (3/10) tearing through the opposition.
It would be interesting to see which side gets the better of another in the upcoming T20.
Wicket-keeper batsman Devon Conway (363 runs in 9 innings) was among the leading run-getters in the previous edition of Super Smash T20 and with fellow opener, Michael Pollard would look to smash the bad deliveries from the very moment. Michael Bracewell (32) was getting the boundaries at frequent intervals and with Rachin Ravindra (38) and Malcolm Nofal (16) assisting him in the middle, one could expect the trio to put up a bucketload of runs at Basin Reserve. Not to forget, Bracewell had a decent run with the bat last season wherein he aggregated 266 runs in 9 innings at a strike rate of 178.52.
Among the bowlers, the spin duo of Jeetan Patel (3/16) and Rachin Ravindra (1/14) wreaked havoc in the lately finished game and with the trio of James Neesham, Ollie Newton and Logan van Beek could be a force to reckon with amidst the home conditions of Wellington.
Michael Bracewell (c), Rachin Ravindra, Michael Pollard, Ollie Newton, Jamie Gibson, Logan van Beek, Devon Conway (wk), Malcolm Nofal, James Neesham, Hamish Bennett, Jeetan Patel
Rachin Ravindra, Malcolm Nofal, Devon Conway, Logan van Beek, Ollie Newton, Hamish Bennett, Michael Bracewell, Michael Pollard, Jeetan Patel, James Neesham, Jamie Gibson
Openers George Worker (42) and Dane Cleaver (39) set up the winning platform for the Stags against Northern Knights and would be backing themselves to replicate the damage in Wellington. Skipper Tom Bruce (353 runs in 11 innings) had led the team upfront in Super Smash 2018-19 and would look to exhibit a similar play in the coming season. His 21-ball 38 comprising a sole four and three-sixes was followed by the fireworks from Kieran Noema-Barnett (47) and Josh Clarkson (31) who jolted the Stags' total past the 220-run mark.
While the aforementioned would hold the key with the bat, the onus of affecting the early dismissals would fall upon Ben Wheeler and Ryan Watson. Spinners Seth Rance (1/10) and Ajaz Patel (3/21) had a memorable outing versus the Knights and would look to put up similar figures at Basin Reserve.
Tom Bruce (c), Ryan Watson, Josh Clarkson, Christian Leopard, Willem Ludick, Ajaz Patel, Dane Cleaver (wk), Ben Wheeler, George Worker, Seth Rance, Kieran Noema-Barnett
Dane Cleaver, Willem Ludick, Josh Clarkson, Ajaz Patel, George Worker, Christian Leopard, Blair Tickner, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Seth Rance, Ben Wheeler, Tom Bruce
It is going to be a partly sunny day at Wellington with intermittent cloud cover by the end of the first innings. The temperature would hover between 15-16 degrees Celsius, offering excellent conditions for the batters to bat early on in the contest and put a 150+ total on board.
With the wicket at Wellington assisting the batters, one could strongly anticipate a high-scoring total at Basin Reserve.
The toss winning captain should consider to bat first and capitalize early on the conditions prevalent at Basin Reserve. With the average 1st innings score at the venue being 160 in the T20s and the upcoming conditions suiting the needs of the batters, one could expect a score above 170 being put in the first half of the contest.
Although both the teams are extremely potent on paper and have just the right set of players capable of winning games from difficult situations, one could still vouch for hosts Wellington Firebirds to gain an upper hand over Central Stags in the nerve-wracking feud. Central Districts may have the firepower to put a majestic total on board, but, they lack the bowling attack needed to defend the set totals. Not to mention, the home conditions might offer some amount of advantage to the Michael Bracewell-led Wellington in the forthcoming contest.
We are backing Wellington Firebirds to win!