The Wellington Firebirds have beaten the Otago Volts by 54 runs at the Hawkins Basin Reserve this afternoon.
Needing exactly 200 to win, the Volts folded under pressure and the Firebirds completed their third outright of the season midway through the second session on the final afternoon.
The win ensured the Firebirds have finished the 10-round Plunket Shield in fourth place, ahead of the Canterbury Wizards and the Auckland Aces.
It also denied the Volts the title ahead of the Central Stags, who drew with the Northern Knights in their match on Nelson.
The Volts’ innings unraveled early when the Firebirds took early wickets to have them reeling at 15 for 3. Aaron Redmond (who was run out) and the Broom brothers, Neil and Darren, were swept aside early.
Champion fast bowler Mark Gillespie then had their wicket-keeper Derek de Boorder LBW for 12 and the southerners were in trouble at 40 for 4.
Michael Bracewell and Jimmy Neesham staged a fightback and led Otago to 98 for 4 at the final Plunket Shield lunch break of the season.
The pair negotiated the first few overs after the break and took the score to 110 and they now needed 90 to win with 6 wickets in hand, including New Zealand all-rounders Neil Wagner and Ian Butler still to enter the fray.
But then Otago’s horror show commenced.
Off-spinner Jeetan Patel had Bracewell caught behind for 45. 110 for 5 (below).
Neesham was LBW to Gillespie for 49. 124 for 6 and two new batsmen at the crease. (Firebirds celebrating Neesham's wicket below).
Next it was Wagner, bowled Patel (see below). 129 for 7
Next it was Sam Wells caught behind off Gillespie (Wells trudging off below). 143 for 8.
From there the end came quickly and mercilessly for the Volts as they folded for 145.
Gillespie finished with 4 for 50, Patel, who had batted so well late on day three and early on the fourth morning, 3 for 53 and Masaesaili Tugaga 2 for 17.
Otago had lost their last 6 wickets for 35 runs.