The Firebirds hold a handy 13-point lead | Images: PHOTOSPORT

Plunket Shield still anybody's game

ROUND SIX

Tuesday 10-Friday 13 March 2020

At Colin Maiden Park, Auckland: Auckland Aces [2] v Wellington Firebirds [1]

At University of Otago Oval, Dunedin: Otago Volts [5] v Central Stags [3]

At Seddon Park, Hamilton: Northern Districts [6] v Canterbury [4]

Current points:

Wellington Firebirds 65

Auckland Aces 52

Central Stags 52

Canterbury 40

Otago Volts 37

Northern Districts 24

We are down to the last three rounds of the 2019/20 first-class championship and it's still anybody's game... just.

With a maximum of 20 points available per round, 60 points are left in the summer but time will start to run out for cellar dweller ND if they don't get a lucky break this round.

Northern suffered a horror finish to their previous match against the Aces - conceding the winning runs with just one ball left in the match.

It came after a fantastic, high-scoring contest that had seen both ND captain Joe Carter and Auckland Ace Mark Chapman score centuries in both innings, the first time in since the competition began in 1906/07 that two players had done so in the same Plunket Shield game.

But for all the centuries, drama, fight and statchat, ND was still left with just six out of the maximum 20 points and is now the only side yet to get a win.

With eight first innings points (four for reaching specified bowling targets and four for specified batting targets inside the first 110 overs of each side's first innings) available to both sides in a game, all teams are after outright points (worth 12) to impress themselves on the right end of the points ladder.

Flying up from fourth to second (on equal points with the Stags) courtesy of their special finish at Outer Oval, the Aces now head east across the big smoke to Colin Maiden Park where a fascinating clash with the Firebirds awaits.

The Firebirds reclaimed the Plunket ladder lead after brushing aside defending champions the Stags on at a typically green Basin Reserve, with a new-style Kookaburra in all rounds also producing late swing.

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It’s a massive #PlunketShield clash in Auckland this weekend! 🏏 . #WEAREWELLINGTON🟡⚪️⚫️

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The impending departure of the BLACKCAPS for the Chappell-Hadlees in Australia has seen a few changes to most teams in the upcoming round, but the Stags will be excited about three key changes to boost their injury-plagued squad this summer.

Doug Bracewell, who has made just one Ford Trophy appearance this season in between knee and groin injuries, and Ben Wheeler, likewise back from a groin injury, join Test BLACKCAP Ajaz Patel as three changes to the side that went down by nine wickets in Wellington, the squad by now missing swing bowler Seth Rance to a hamstring injury.

Up against the Otago Volts - who have meanwhile lost veteran batsman Neil Broom to injury - in their last away game of the season, the threepeat quest is still alive for the Central Stags, but they will be anxious to get back in the saddle quickly - and for weather to behave before heading home for a big rematch against the Firebirds, their last two rounds at McLean Park.

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Injury to Neil Broom brings Dale Phillips into the Volts side for round 6 of the #plunketshield 📸 @photosportnz

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Canterbury stumbled last week, but likewise remains well in contention for this year's honours, but need to make their move now against a hurting ND side licking their wounds at home. The final day of the Seddon park contest will be followed by Saturday's Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Grand Final in a bonanza week of free cricket for Waikato's epicentre.

All Plunket Shield matches begin at 10.30am this Tuesday (weather permitting) with free admission in Hamilton, Auckland and Dunedin and the toss scheduled for 10am.

Competition Winner: Wellington Firebirds

Played W L D T A OIMW OIMT Bat Bowl TOTAL Net RPW
1 Wellington Firebirds 6 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 15 20 83 5.34
2 Central Stags 6 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 10 23 57 0.24
3 Otago Volts 6 2 1 2 0 1 0 0 9 18 55 -5.75
4 Auckland Aces 6 2 1 2 0 1 0 0 10 16 54 5.21
5 Canterbury 6 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 13 20 45 -3.75
6 Northern Districts 6 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 14 16 42 -1.48

Order in the Table Determined by: 1. Total Points, 2. Number of Wins, 3. Net Runs Per Wicket (NRPW - RPW For minus RPW Against over the whole competition)

Points Awarded: Won - 12, Lost - 0, Draw - 0, Tied - 6, Abandoned - 4
One Innings Match Won (OIMW - match won that started with 10 hours or less playing time remaining) - 6, One Innings Match Tie (OIMT) - 3
Batting Points (Bat) - First Innings only up to 110 overs - first point at 200 runs, second point at 250 runs, third point at 300 runs, fourth point at 350 runs
Bowling Points (Bowl) - First Innings only up to 110 overs - first point at 3 wickets, second point at 5 wickets, third point at 7 wickets, fourth point at 9 wickets

Most Runs

1D Conway701
2H Cooper499
3G Hay454
4J Carter452
5M Chapman432
6Dane Cleaver423
7B Schmulian418
8Rachin Ravindra414
9M Rippon364
10N Smith332

Most Wickets

1=J Duffy22
1=N Wagner22
3W Ludick21
4Logan van Beek19
5=Blair Tickner18
5=F Sheat18
7=L Delport17
7=M Henry17
7=W Williams17
10=J Baker16

With Thanks To

Sky Sport Pitch ANZ Ford
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