Cricket: Canterbury march on to final

Jesse Ryder failed to get on the scoreboard for Wellington today. Photo: Martin Hunter
Jesse Ryder failed to get on the scoreboard for Wellington today. Photo: Martin Hunter

Canterbury's clinical bowling performance saw them claim their place in Sunday's domestic one-day cricket final after they beat Wellington by 61 runs in the major preliminary final at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch today.

The Cantabrians won the toss and chose to bat on their home track this morning but could post only 198 on a day where ball dominated the bat.

Their means they will meet Auckland in the grand final at the Eden Park Outer Oval this weekend.

Canterbury never settled at the crease today as they failed to post a big partnership but they did get useful contributions from Tom Latham (44), skipper Andrew Ellis (35) and Henry Nicholls (27).

Latham and Ellis added 53 for the fifth wicket in quick time, which wasn't a huge stand, but in the context of the game it was arguably a match-winning partnership.

Five Wellington bowlers got in on the wickets and while Scott Kuggeleijn (3-41) and Luke Woodcock (3-22) each claimed three scalps, seamer Tipene Friday was particularly tough to get away as his 10 overs yielded him 1-27, including two maidens.

In pursuit of what seemed like a modest total, Wellington lost Luke Ronchi in the second over for one but the killer blows came in the fifth over from pace bowler Matt Henry.

The competition's leading wicket-taker dismissed the dangerous Michael Papps (1) and Jesse Ryder (0) in consecutive balls to leave Wellington reeling at 10-3.

Veterans James Franklin and Grant Elliott then set about resurrecting their run chase and put on 57 for the fourth wicket but that man Henry struck again when he knocked Franklin over for 26.

Elliott (63) was left to carry the can for the side and tried to nurse Wellington home with the tail but when he was the eighth man to go after he was bowled by Ryan McCone (3-25) the game was as good as over for the visitors.

Eventually it was left to Henry, who fittingly finished Wellington off for 137 when he bowled Jeetan Patel for 15 to wrap up victory for Canterbury.

The 21-year-old Henry finished with 4-14 from 8.3 overs and he must be in the thoughts of national coach Mike Hesson as a player for the future.

Canterbury were the second-top qualifiers in the Ford Trophy and will meet an Auckland side who won five from eight during the round-robin phase and earned their home ground advantage with a 128-run win over Canterbury in the minor preliminary final last Sunday.

Auckland will start as slight favourites this weekend but Canterbury will fancy their chances given the form their bowling attack is in.

- APNZ

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