Win Boosts Canterbury's Title Hopes

The State Canterbury Wizards have thrust themselves into State Shield one-day cricket title contention by beating the State Wellington Firebirds by seven wickets today.

Half-centuries to Peter Fulton and Johann Myburgh carried Canterbury to their revised target of 221 with 19 balls to spare at the Basin Reserve in the capital.

The result lifted the southerners to second in the standings with the remaining two matches of the ninth and penultimate round to be played on Wednesday.

Canterbury now have 20 points, five behind pacesetters Northern Districts, who are already assured to contesting the top-three playoffs.

They paced their chase nicely, despite the early loss of opener Iain Robertson, as Michael Papps got them underway with 32 before Fulton and Myburgh collaborated in a stand of 94 for the third wicket.

Myburgh posted his second half-century in the space of three days before being removed for 51 when he hit a ball from offspinner Jeetan Patel down the throat of Graham Napier at long off.

Fulton pushed on, passing 50 as he and No 5 batsman Shanan Stewart took Canterbury to within sight of their target as they required just 51 runs off the last 10 overs.

They completed the job themselves, with Fulton finishing unbeaten on 85 off 122 balls, including five fours and one six, while Stewart had time to hit 30 not out at a run-a-ball clip.

Earlier, former international fast bowler Shane Bond was again to the fore with the ball as last-placed Wellington were restricted to just 217 for nine.

After losing an over due to rain, Wellington never got into stride despite a bold start from Jesse Ryder, who clouted 35 off 29 balls at the top of the innings.

The punishing left-hander hit four fours and one six before he was bowled by Ryan Burson after playing across the line and missing.

Thereafter the Canterbury bowlers held sway, with Bond a tough proposition for the batsmen.

Fresh from taking three for 25 against Central Districts, Bond conceded only 19 runs off his 10 overs and picked up the wickets of Luke Woodcock and Chris Nevin in the process.

Seamer Andrew Ellis also impressed, taking two for 35 off eight overs, while Leighton Burtt and Burson offered support in taking two each as well although both leaked more than 50 runs.

James Franklin topscored for Wellington with 45 while opener Matthew Bell contributed 35 while State Shield MVP front runners Napier and Woodcock each made 20.

NZPA

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