Bennett, Patel bowl Wellington into final
Wellington 155 for 7 (Papps 45, Marshall 36, Astle 3-18) beat Canterbury 151 for 7 (Bowes 56, Nicholls 34, Bennett 3-18, Patel 2-22) by three wickets
Hamish Bennett and Jeetan Patel, along with the Wellington openers, came to the fore to give the home team a hard-earned three-wicket win over Canterbury in the preliminary final of the 2016-17 Super Smash at the Basin Reserve. Wellington chased down 152 with three wickets and four balls to spare, and set up a final date with Central Districts that takes place on Saturday in New Plymouth.
Bennett, who took a career-best 3 for 18, and Patel took five wickets and gave away just 40 runs in eight overs between them as Canterbury's decision to bat did not take off. The duo ensured that Canterbury were restricted to 151 for 7 despite solid contributions from their top and middle order.
Canterbury had to contend with the loss of Tom Latham in the fourth over, before Chad Bowes, who top-scored with 56, and Henry Nicholls (34) steadied them with a second-wicket stand of 69 off 51 balls. Peter Fulton tried to keep Canterbury going with a 23-ball 33, but late wickets hurt their finish.
Wellington's chase was set up by their top three. Opening batsmen Michael Papps (45) and Hamish Marshall (36) set the tone with a 73-run partnership in under seven overs. Papps struck seven fours en route to a 28-ball 45, while Marshall was slightly more aggressive during his 20-ball 36 that came with the help of five fours and a six. Their top three were taken out by legspinner Todd Astle, Canterbury's best bowler with 3 for 18 in four overs, on a day he was left out of the Test squad. Astle's strikes resulted in Wellington squandering a strong start as they went from 103 for 1 to 110 for 5. But late contributions from Matt Taylor (17) and Luke Woodcock (16 not out) saw them through.