Bell Leads From the Front to Ensure Wellington Win

Captain Matthew Bell led from the front as Wellington beat Northern Districts by six wickets in a State Shield one-day cricket match in Whangarei today.

Bell hit 74 not out as Wellington overhauled the home side's mediocre total of 148 in the 44th over at Cobham Oval.

He faced 127 balls and hit eight boundaries, enjoying an unbroken stand of 72 runs for the fifth wicket with fellow former international Chris Nevin, who chipped in with a timely 35 not out.

Wellington had been 77 for four in the 26th over before the union between this pair got them home in good time.

Earlier, Northern Districts would have been seriously embarrassed were it not for the presence of 18-year-old Kane Williamson.

Williamson propped up his team's innings with a defiant knock of 67 before he was the last man out with 4.3 overs still at their disposal.

The Wellington bowlers operated as a pack, firstly knocking the top off the Northern Districts innings before applying constant pressure.

Williamson was the only batsman to top 20, reaching his half-century off 88 balls after rotating the strike with deft placement as others came and went at regular intervals at the other end.

All of the Wellington bowlers were economical with Grant Elliott and Graham Napier the most successful.

Napier had figures of three for 24 off 7.3 overs, including the scalp of former international Hamish Marshall in just the second over, while Elliott took three for 32 off 10.

Ronald Karaitiana also impressed in his debut for Wellington, picking up two for 18 off seven.

Karaitiana was one of four Wellington players making their debuts in the one-day competition, alongside batsmen BJ Crook and Stephen Murdoch, and teenaged allrounder Harry Boam.

Murdoch's introduction did not go so smoothly, with the opening batsman being dismissed for a 16-ball duck.

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