Shield contenders in race to face Aces

The tenth and final round of this season’s State Shield sees four teams are battling for the two semi-final spots.

With holders Auckland Aces already guaranteed a home defence of their title in the final on 2 March, a number of their rivals are seeking the chance to relieve them of their crown.

All six provincial teams play off in Wednesday’s final round. Canterbury have 21 points and Wellington 19, with Central Stags and Otago Volts locked on 18 points each.

An unbeaten run since the break for the State Twenty20 competition has left the Wizards in second place.

The Wizards will confirm that position – and the semi-final hosting rights that come with it - with victory over Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve.

The Firebirds won back-to-back games in the last 10 days to stake their claim, and currently reside in third position, but could improve that with victory.

The losers in the capital contest will face an anxious wait for the outcome of the two other results.

Central travel to Eden Park Outer Oval to take on the Aces and Otago take on Northern Knights at Invercargill’s Queens Park.

The balance is so fine that bonus point victories for both CD and Otago, coupled with a no result at the Basin Reserve could see them play-off in the semi-final.

Auckland Aces
– Guaranteed first place in table and home final

Canterbury Wizards
– Win would give them a home semi-final. May also take home advantage with a tie/no result if Stags and Volts lose. Could qualify in third place with a defeat if Stags and Volts also lose.

Wellington Firebirds
– Win should see them host the semi-final, unless Central Stags defeat Auckland Aces and earn a bonus point.

Central Stags
– Victory over Aces would put them into semi-final at the expense of the Wizards or Firebirds. May also progress with a tie/no result and Firebirds lose

Otago Volts
– Victory over Aces would put them into semi-final at the expense of the Wizards or Firebirds. May also progress with a tie/no result and Firebirds lose.

Northern Knights
– Will finish sixth.

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