Wellington Firebirds defend their Men’s Super Smash title

According to a press release by New Zealand Cricket, the Wellington Firebirds became only the second team to win successive New Zealand’s men’s Domestic T20 title as both Dream11 Super Smash Grand Finals concluded in nail biting last-over finishes at the Basin Reserve. Cool and composed Devon Conway hit the winning boundary with two deliveries remaining as the defending champions chased down 175 for eight from the Canterbury Kings. Like the women’s final earlier the day, it was a thrilling and competitive Grand Final in which the momentum kept sea sawing among the two adversaries after Firebirds captain Michael Bracewell sent the Kings in. The Kings were off to a good start with Ken McClure smashing the first six of the final off Hamish Bennett, but Logan van Beek pulled it back for the capital and got McClure caught. The Kings had finished their power play at 55/1 and the Firebirds at 61/2 after having lost the wickets of youngsters Finn Allen on 16 and a scoreless Tom Blundell who tried to cut a wide delivery from Ed Nuttall (2-32) and got caught by Chad Bowes. Earlier, Bowes scored 36 off 21 playing a crucial role with the bat for the Kings in a 65-run second-wicket partnership with Mitchell who scored 35 off 24 as they laid a strong foundation for their side – before McConchie led from the front scoring 44 across the back 12 overs. With two balls remaining in the innings, Van Beek (3-28) got rid of McConchie, then put himself on a hat-trick after a fine diving catch from Troy Johnson removing Matt Henry. Todd Astle poked away a single to avoid becoming the third victim on the last ball of the innings with the Kings having a competitive total to defend. The Firebirds required around nine an over from the outset and loss of the Allen and followed by Blundell was a major blow, Troy Johnson fired a quick 28 to give the Firebirds a boost at a crucial point in the chase. With three overs remaining Jamie Gibson was the new man at crease and bowler Will Williams came back in the attack with the Firebirds requiring 29 off the final three overs. Convoy, with his fourth back to back half century 93*, again rose to the party showing his class with the bat throughout the innings, leading his side to the championship as he hit the winning runs. Allen and Conway finished as the top two men’s batsmen in the league this season, with 512 and 455 runs respectively. Blair Tickner remained the top wicket-taker with 17 and Matt Henry 14 wickets.


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