Wellington seal title in close higher-scorer
Wellington 186 for 6 (Pollard 76, Elliott 40*) beat Auckland 180 for 9 (C Cachopa 37) by six runs
Wellington held their nerve to win a high-scoring, see-sawing final against Auckland, thus booking their ticket to next year's Champions League T20 (albeit, just the qualifying round, as of now). The win was primarily set up by a solid 76 from opener Michael Pollard, and a feisty all-round showing from Grant Elliott.
Chasing 187, several Auckland batsmen got starts but none could kick on and make it really count. From a comfortable 125 for 3 in the 14th over, they lost three wickets in four balls, sliding to 126 for 6 in 14.1. Some big hits from Brad Cachopa and Michael Bates ensured the game did not slip away altogether, though, and they were left needing 14 off the final over, bowled by Dane Hutchinson. He conceded five off the first two balls, but kept it tight for the rest of the over to seal a six-run win.
Wellington's defence was boosted by seamer Elliott, who took the wickets of the top-scorers Craig Cachopa (37 off 25) and Colin Munro (34 off 23) in a spell in which he varied his pace, mixing outswingers with slower deliveries and fast legspin. It took a blow, however, when offspinner Jeetan Patel, their most economical bowler by far in the innings with 1 for 13 in three overs, went off with a hamstring problem. But, eventually, he was not missed too badly.
After being inserted, Wellington ensured they had an imposing total with a charge in the second half of their innings, after Pollard had held things together early on. After getting to 63 for 3 in 10, they added 123 in the next 10. Much of that came down to Elliott, and a rather sloppy show by Auckland in the field - two chances offered by James Franklin were not held on to, and he finished with 31 off 17. At the other end, Elliott slammed 40 off 21, helping Wellington to a total that, in the end, proved to be just about enough.