Canterbury Wizards 239-8 (Andrew Ellis 81, Tom Latham 48, Luke Woodcock 3-26) lost to the Tulsi Wellington Firebirds 240-2 after 46 overs (Stephen Murdoch 80*, Michael Pollard 70, James Franklin 53*) by eight wickets
The Tulsi Wellington Firebirds will play the SKYCITY Northern Knights in the Ford Trophy Final, after beating the Canterbury Wizards by eight wickets at Hagley Oval in Christchurch this afternoon.
Having beaten the Auckland Aces on Sunday, the Firebirds earned the right to face the Wizards, the loser of the 1 v 2 preliminary-final, to see who would compete for the title this Saturday at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
The Firebirds booked their ticket with an emphatic performance.
Having been asked to bat first, the Wizards looked on track early on, with Tom Latham (48) and Brad Cachopa (38) reaching 50 without loss in the 13th over. The 100 came up with just Cachopa back in the shed, but within four overs the momentum swung in favour of the Firebirds.
The visitors took the next five wickets for just 25 runs, including the key scalps of Dean Brownlie (0) and captain Peter Fulton (2). The Wizards batting depth would save them somewhat, with Ellis (81) and Todd Astle (38) navigating their side to a competitive total.
Ellis was the key, the experienced allrounder steadying the ship before finishing the innings with a bang. He slammed eight fours and four sixes during his 76 ball knock, helping his side surpass 200 in the 48th over.
The 32-year-old continued to pepper the boundary, before falling with three balls remaining. The damage had been done though - the Wizards bowlers had something to defend.
Luke Woodcock continued his strong form, picking up figures of three for 26 from 10 overs, while Grant Elliott was next best with two for 26 from eight.
The Firebirds top-order backed up their bowlers’ efforts, maintaining complete control for the entire pursuit.
Michael Pollard (70) and Michael Papps (32) got things underway with a first wicket partnership of 55, before Papps fell victim in the 11th over. He was ably replaced by Stephen Murdoch, who saw out the task with an unbeaten 80.
Pollard and Murdoch put on 95 for the second wicket, calmly accumulating while the Wizards finals hopes slowly dwindled. The hosts struck in the 32nd over with the wicket of Pollard, but he would be the last of the Firebirds batsmen to depart.
Murdoch quickly struck up a new partnership with skipper James Franklin (53no from 39), the pair seeing out the remaining 90 runs required at a sharp pace.
The outcome had never looked in doubt during the Firebirds innings, with the top-order delivering a supreme performance.
The Final will be Live on SKY Sport at 10.10am this Saturday.