Aces seek Firebirds deuce

State Shield leaders Auckland Aces return to Eden Park to take on second-placed State Wellington Firebirds in a rematch of the last Friday’s game at Westpac Stadium.

Dave Haupapa’s maiden State Shield century assisted an Auckland victory which catapulted the Aces over the capital side to the top of the limited-overs competition’s points table.

Coach Mark O’Donnell said: “The State Shield has been a real focus for us this season and it’s great to see all the hard work that we’ve put in pay off.

“The batsmen are doing the job as a unit and we’ve got the bowling to back it up.”

“We’ve been stressing each time that it’s a game by game process, and that we need to concentrate on what’s in front of us on the day.”

O’Donnell retains the same 12 from the 10-run win at the Cake Tin, while Wellington travel north with the competition’s leading wicket taker, Grant Elliot.

The Johannesburg–born all-rounder has taken nine scalps at 18.66 this season, also averaging 49 with the bat.

Third-placed State Otago Volts host State Northern Knights at Dunedin’s University Oval, with both teams within reach of progressing up the ladder.

Knights captain James Marshall hit a career best in the win over State Canterbury Wizards on Saturday, while Otago are seeking a third win in succession after defeating State Central Stags and Auckland in recent matches.

For Canterbury’s trip to face Central at New Plymouth, Andrew Ellis returns to the squad while Carl Frauenstein is included for a possible Shield debut.

The Stags’ BLACKCAPS all-rounder Jacob Oram will continue his return to fitness in the match.





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