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7 Jan 2022
Central Stags take on Wellington Firebirds in the 21st match of this year's Super Smash tournament at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth. Both teams have twelve points and are in the middle of the table, but Wellington has a slight advantage due to their higher net run rate than the Stags. Wellington is third, and Stags are just below them.
The Stags and Firebirds will square off for the second time in the tournament. They previously met on December 5, 2021, at Basin Reserve, where the Stags were able to defend a total of 191 runs while winning by a margin of 14 runs. The highlight of the match was Josh Clarkson's 71(32)*.
In their previous matches, the Firebirds thrashed the scuffling Otago side by eight wickets (DLS) in a rain-interrupted affair while the Stags lost a match that they should have won. They couldn't defend 218 runs as they bowed down to Canterbury by five wickets. Even though they batted well their bowlers couldn’t turn up in that match.
Dane Cleaver and Greg Hay will miss out on this game. In the absence of Cleaver, Bayley Wiggins will handle the gloves. Brad Schmulian, a South African origin batter, and Mason Hughes have been added to the squad. Wellington will go with the unchanged squad. They will heavily depend on Fin Allen and Jimmy Neesham for major contributions. Both the teams will fight hard and will keep an eye on the third place as it is the spot from where they can enter the play-offs.
Will the Firebirds maintain their third-place position, or will the Stags dethrone them? Is well worth a look.
Central Stags vs Wellington Firebirds- 21st Match
Date and Time: January 8, 2022, 6:10 AM IST
Venue: Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
Broadcast: Fan Code
The Pukekura Park pitch is an absolute batting paradise. The bowlers will have a tough day ahead. The average first innings total is above 180s. Teams chasing have won a majority of the games here. A Toss-winning captain usually likes to chase here.
According to forecasts, there will be no rain, and will be sunny throughout the match.
Probable Playing XI
Ben Smith, Ma’ara Ave, Tom Bruce (c), Brad Schumlian, Josh Clarkson, Bayley Wiggins (wk), Doug Bracewell, Seth Rance, Blair Tickner, Joey Field, Ajaz Patel.
Fin Allen (wk), Tim Robinson, Michael Bracewell (c), Logan van Beek, Nathan Smith, Jimmy Neesham, Troy Johnson, Peter Younghusband, Ben Sears, Ollie Newton, Hamish Bennett.
CE Fantasy XI
Josh Clarkson, Ajaz Patel, Doug Bracewell, Seth Rance, Bayley Wiggins, Michael Bracewell, Jimmy Neesham, Peter Younghusband, Tim Robinson
Captain- Fin Allen
Vice-Captain- Tom Bruce