The Canterbury Wizards remained very much in HRV Cup Twenty20 title contention after comprehensively beating the Wellington Firebirds by 61 runs in the capital today.
Their third victory in six outings lifted them to 14 points and outright second place with four rounds remaining ahead of the final.
The Wizards were well worth the result after posting 151 for eight then rolling the bottom placed and well off the pace Firebirds for 90 inside 17 overs at a blustery Basin Reserve.
George Worker and captain Peter Fulton ensured the Wizards innings had some substance after opener Rob Nicol guaranteed them a fluid start by making 16 off as many balls before becoming the first of left-arm seamer Andy McKay’s three victims.
His opening partner Worker enjoyed his work, striking seven fours in a 29-ball 45 before departing in the 10th over at 84 for two when he hit a delivery from offspinner Jeetan Patel to Englishman Rory Hamilton-Brown, who was making his debut for the Firebirds.
Fulton then showed the benefits of his experience as he worked hard to guide his team to a total they could defend until he was the last man out for 44 off 39 balls.
McKay and Patel excelled with the ball for the Firebirds, the former ending with three for 19 off his four overs and the latter taking three for 18 off his full allocation.
The Firebirds chase began inauspiciously as Hamilton-Taylor, Michael Pollard and Brendan Taylor came and went for single figures.
Taylor was trapped leg before wicket by offspinner Nicol for eight and the slow bowler then bowled Grant Elliott and Harry Boam before having Craig Cachopa caught by Reece Young en route to an excellent return of four for 21 off four.
Only left-hander James Franklin offered resistance as he reached 33 off 31 with three fours but his dismissal, when caught by Dean Brownlie off seamer Andrew Ellis, left the hosts at an unwinnable 75 for seven in the 15th over.
The end then came quickly as two run outs hastened the Firebirds’ demise.
All of the Wizards bowlers performed their roles well and while Nicol was the standout young quick Matt Henry removed both openers and later returned to finish with two for 14 off three and Ellis claimed one for 24 off four.