Volts out of contention for place in playoffs

Wellington's Ben Sears ripped the top off the Otago order, picking up 4/21. Photo: Getty Images
Wellington's Ben Sears ripped the top off the Otago order, picking up 4/21. Photo: Getty Images
Early wickets and not enough runs have ended the Otago Volts’ Super Smash playoff hopes.

They were beaten by four wickets with two overs remaining, as the Wellington Firebirds bowling held the Volts to 137 for nine at the Basin Reserve yesterday.

Ben Sears did the damage.

The first-change bowler tore through the Volts’ top order, taking four wickets in his first three overs.

That left them at 38 for four in the seventh over, a start from which they never recovered.

Partnerships proved hard to build, too, Wellington snaffling a wicket every time Otago looked like putting together a useful stand.

The Volts took wickets of their own to apply some pressure to the Wellington chase.

But the total was not enough to create run-rate pressure and Michael Bracewell’s 47 not out steered the hosts to a comfortable victory.

It leaves the Volts out of the playoff race with three games left, while Wellington goes outright top of the table.

After a handy first two overs, the Volts’ innings took a down-turn upon Sears’ introduction in the third over.

He took his first wicket as Rutherford skied one to Jamie Gibson, before Neil Broom edged one to keeper Tom Blundell off the next ball.

That made the Volts 16 for two and while Josh Finnie showed his power with a four and a big six, he soon followed after mis-hitting one on 10.

The power play ended with the Volts on just 38, before Sears snatched his fourth wicket a ball later when Blundell caught an edge from Dale Phillips.

It was a start that stalled the Volts and hampered their ability to accelerate through the middle overs.

Anaru Kitchen and Michael Rippon put together innings of 28 and 22 respectively.

Meawhile wicket-keeper batsman Max Chu delivered a useful 21 not out off 12 balls to finish, helping the Volts through to 137 for nine.

Mitchell McClenaghan gave the Volts a dream start in the field.

He removed the dangerous opening duo Finn Allen and Devon Conway for four and nine respectively.

Rachin Ravindra and Tom Blundell responded with a quickfire partnership.

But it was McClenaghan who again provided the breakthrough.

He snagged the wicket of Blundell for 19, the wicket-keeper batsman caught trying to clear the rope at midwicket.

It left Wellington at 51 for three, which became 59 as the powerplay ended.

That gave it the platform to remain in control, even more so as Ravindra and Michael Bracewell put on another 30 runs in the next three overs.

Ravindra was run out for 29 in the ninth over after a great throw from Nathan Smith.

But he had set Wellington up in a position where it needed to score at just five runs per over.

Bracewell anchored one end and while the Volts remained in the game, Wellington stayed in a comfortable position.

Smith pulled off a brilliant diving catch backward of square leg to snare Jamie Gibson.

But that was as close as the Volts got, and Wellington got home without having to take any risks.


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