November 19, 2000

Wellington comfortable winner of its second Super Max trophy

Wellington became the first team to win back-to-back Shell Super Max series at Eden Park's Outer Oval today when claiming a comfortable eight-wicket win in a disappointing final.

Wellington was never pressured at any stage and its bowlers deserve most credit for producing the answers in varying conditions over the two days.

Matthew Walker, Paul Hitchcock and Carl Bulfin were especially successful in their control and length which allowed no Auckland batsman to really take to them.

Auckland also paid the price for an indifferent second innings. Wellington made the most of its 12-run first innings lead and then embarrassed Auckland by restricting it completely throughout the second innings.

Wellington Firebirds captain Matthew Bell used his bowlers with some finesse in the first innings to ensure he had the firepower in the second innings and his bowlers responded.

Walker may be one of the bulkier players on the summer scene but it is no hindrance to the commitment he is able to make in finals play. His bowling was outstanding as he took 2-24 from his four overs in the match, and also pulled off a superb catch to remove the hard-hitting Auckland opener Llorne Howell in the first over of the second innings.

It was a vital blow. Auckland had no response and when Bulfin slipped into his final two overs with superb control, the die was cast. Roger Twose took a fine catch at fly slip to end Aaron Barnes' innings.

Earlier, Wellington gained a boost when its downwind bowlers James Franklin and Bulfin made life miserable in Auckland's first innings.

Auckland could only managed 99-2, and against the strong Wellington batting line-up that was never going to be enough.

Auckland's bowlers couldn't reach a similar standard and Wellington was able to take a 12-run lead into the second innings.

With 52 the target in eight overs it was going to take a Wellington calamity to deny it the win, and the Capital Firebirds were in no mood to give anything away. The big hits were put away and a sensible accumulation policy took the game to the sixth over before the win was achieved.