Bennett, Blundell star for Wellington in low-scoring game
Wellington wicketkeeper Tom Blundell took ten catches and made unbeaten knocks in both innings of a low-scoring Plunket Shield match against Canterbury, as the hosts completed a five-wicket win on the second day. Blundell, who could be in line to replace the injured BJ Watling in New Zealand's Test squad against West Indies, was the only player other than his team-mate Michael Papps (44 and 48) to make a score of 40-plus in the match.
His unbeaten 43 in the first innings had helped Wellington take the lead after they had bowled Canterbury out for 118 on the back of fast bowler Hamish Bennett's 5 for 14. Bennett cleaned up the lower order after Logan van Beek had taken the early wickets, including those of Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls. In reply, Wellington had a 75-run opening stand, that was followed by a collapse that saw them fold for 159. Canterbury's 21-year-old medium-pacer Henry Shipley took his first five-wicket haul.
It continued to be a bowler's match in the second innings, with Bennett taking another five-wicket haul, starting with a wicket first-innings top scorer Chad Bowes off his third ball. A cameo from wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher (33) lifted Canterbury from 61 for 5, but they could only set Wellington 116.
Papps' 48 set the foundation, before Blundell and van Beek finished it off with a sixth-wicket stand of 30. The win gave Wellington 16 points, and they sit on top of the table with four wins in four.