Jesse Ryder smashed a brilliant half-century as the Wellington Firebirds beat the Canterbury Wizards by six wickets in the HRV Cup Twenty20 at Westpac Stadium tonight.
Ryder fired six boundaries and five thundering sixes in a magnificent 90 of 57 balls as his side mowed down Canterbury’s total with three overs to spare.
The Wizards won the toss and elected to bat, posting 147 for six in their 20 overs with the Firebirds making 148 for four in response.
Canterbury’s effort was led by Brad Cachopa’s 67 off 58 and along with top order players George Worker (23) and Peter Fulton (34) set a solid platform for the visitors.
However, Grant Elliott picked up wickets in the 15th and 17th overs to stem the flow of runs while Australian speedster Shaun Tait kept applying pressure with two wickets in the final over.
Elliott ended with outstanding bowling figures of two for six off two overs and Tait picked up two for 14 off four.
The Wellington run-chase was never in doubt despite former Australian international Ben Laughlin bowling out Michael Pollard for 10 and then doing the same to Michael Papps the following ball.
Cameron Borgas contributed a run-a-ball 24 but it was Ryder’s dominant innings that ensured a comfortable victory for the home team.
Laughlin was Canterbury’s best with three for 30.