The three-peat dream is alive for the Central Stags as six becomes four in the exciting and closely fought 2017 Ford Trophy.
The competition has farewelled the Auckland Aces and Otago Volts as the last of the top four for the playoffs was inked in yesterday at Pukekura Park.
Although the Wellington Firebirds finished top of the regular season points table with their two-wicket win over Canterbury in Christchurch, led by another match-winning captain’s century from Hamish Marshall, the Basin Reserve is unavailable this weekend and so the Firebirds have ceded hosting rights to second qualifier Canterbury for the 1v2 Qualifier, which will now be a rematch back at Hagley Oval and is also set for this Saturday at 11am.
The Basin Reserve will be available again after that for either the Elimination Final or the Grand Final, while Canterbury will host one of those matches at Mainpower Oval, Rangiora as Hagley Oval moves into BLACKCAPS mode.
In Dunedin, the Otago Volts also finished the eight rounds with a boom, Anaru Kitchen charging to a fast century to ensure they got a bonus point win against ND and did everything they could to boost their mathematical hopes. But they had also needed the Stags and Aces to have a closer finish in order to influence net run rate tie-breakers in their favour, and the Stags weren’t having a bar of that with a handsome seven-wicket win.
Despite a topsy turvy season, ND had already secured its top four position thanks to vital bonus point wins, while the talented Aces unit will be gutted to be exiting the competition early, having been its early frontrunner. Down to the final four, where the Firebirds and Canterbury now hold an extra ace up their sleeves.
Article courtesy of New Zealand Cricket.