Fire­birds re­turn to scene of open­ing round mas­sacre

The Dominion Post - - Sport - CRICKET

In a handy early-sea­son co­in­ci­dence, first-round win­ners Welling­ton and Otago open week two of the Plun­ket Shield.

The Fire­birds had one of their most dom­i­nant vic­to­ries in re­cent mem­ory, by an in­nings and 205 runs over Auck­land, and re­turn to the Basin Re­serve to­day.

New cap­tain Rob Ni­col’s Otago se­cured a seven-wicket win over de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Can­ter­bury.

In other matches, Cen­tral Dis­tricts and Auck­land meet in Nel­son while Can­ter­bury host North­ern Dis­tricts who drew with the Stags in round one.

WELLING­TON v OTAGO Basin Re­serve, Welling­ton

It was very good from record­break­ers Welling­ton but too bad to be true from Auck­land who some­how were bowled out for 62 on the first morn­ing last Mon­day.

The Basin pitch had a green tinge but played well, as ev­i­denced by Michael Papps and Luke Wood­cock’s record open­ing stand of 432, and Papps’ epic un­beaten 316.

Otago fin­ished last in ev­ery for­mat last sea­son so their com­fort­able run chase against Can­ter­bury was a big re­sult for new skip­per Ni­col, whose side was boosted by key per­for­mances from its se­nior men.

Neil Wag­ner was his usual ag­gres­sive self and snared five wick­ets for the match while for­mer test spin­ner Mark Craig’s re­turn was no­table for his se­cond in­nings 4-87 to help skit­tle the hosts for 299.

Hamish Ruther­ford’s 90 helped pol­ish off that chase for 239 and Otago’s bats­men should en­joy the Basin, too, against an at­tack led by Hamish Ben­nett who did a job on Auck­land.

Welling­ton (from): Michael Bracewell (cap­tain), Hamish Ben­nett, Tom Blun­dell, Fraser Col­son, Iain McPeake, Stephen Mur­doch, Ol­lie New­ton, Jee­tan Pa­tel, Michael Papps, Matt Tay­lor, Lo­gan van Beek, Luke Wood­cock.

Otago (from): Rob Ni­col (cap­tain), Neil Broom, Mark Craig, Derek de Bo­order, Ja­cob Duffy, Anaru Kitchen, Jimmy Nee­sham, Michael Rae, Hamish Ruther­ford, Nathan Smith, Brad Wil­son, Neil Wag­ner.

CD v AUCK­LAND Sax­ton Oval, Nel­son

The Stags wel­come back Jesse Ry­der from in­jury, re­plac­ing opener Ben Smith who suf­fered a bro­ken fin­ger in round one, the drawn first in­nings run­fest against North­ern in Tau­ranga.

Bats­man Brad Sch­mu­lian was the story for the Stags, be­com­ing the only bats­man in New Zealand first-class cricket to score a dou­ble­cen­tury on de­but. They’ll need him to fire again as the Stags look thin with­out Black Caps Ge­orge Worker and Tom Bruce again, although Ry­der’s re­turn will help.

Spin­ner Ajaz Pa­tel will again be a key with the ball af­ter he be­gan the sea­son as he left off, snar­ing nine for the match be­fore his team­mates clung on for the draw.

Auck­land’s young bat­ting lineup were badly ex­posed in Welling­ton and test opener Jeet Raval will carry the bur­den at the top. Legspin­ner Tarun Nethula will hope for more suit­able con­di­tions at Sax­ton Oval af­ter he snared wick­ets for fun last sum­mer.

Cen­tral (from): Will Young (cap­tain), Greg Hay, Jesse Ry­der, Brad Sch­mu­lian, Mitch Ren­wick, Dane Cleaver, Doug Bracewell, Be­van Small, Ajaz Pa­tel, Seth Rance, Navin Pa­tel, Blair Tick­ner.

Auck­land: TBC

CAN­TER­BURY v ND Main­power Oval, Ran­giora

Cap­tain and reign­ing player of the sea­son An­drew El­lis is back for Can­ter­bury af­ter a bro­ken bone in his left hand de­layed his start to 2017-18. The all­rounder will bol­ster an in­jury-hit Can­ter­bury who won three of the last four shield ti­tles but stum­bled against Otago at home in round one.

Can­ter­bury, who are miss­ing con­tracted fast bowlers Kyle Jamieson, Ed Nut­tall, Nathan McNi­col and Henry Ship­ley through in­jury, have been boosted by the ad­di­tion of 25-year-old Syd­ney-based all-rounder Daniel Sams.

Sams, a mid­dle or­der bats­man and left-arm open­ing bowler, is avail­able for the next two matches, while pro­lific bats­man Ken McClure is close to a re­turn.

North­ern, who were three wick­ets away from top­pling the Stags, will be with­out test wick­et­keeper BJ Watling who has a hip in­jury. He was part of the North­ern top-six who all scored half-cen­turies in the first in­nings against Cen­tral.

Can­ter­bury (from): An­drew El­lis (cap­tain), Chad Bowes, Jack Boyle, Leo Carter, Blake Coburn, Cam Fletcher, Tim John­ston, Ken McClure, Cole McConchie, Michael Pol­lard, Daniel Sams, Fraser Sheat, Will Wil­liams.

North­ern (from): Daniel Flynn (cap­tain), Brent Ar­nel, James Baker, Dean Brown­lie, Henry Cooper, An­ton Dev­cich, Zak Gib­son, Scott Kuggeleijn, Bharat Po­pli, Brett Ran­dell, Tim Seifert, Joe Walker.

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