A 126-run partnership between Troy Johnson and Jamie Gibson has led Wellington A to a seven-wicket victory over Auckland A in the final of the Provincial A Quadrangular T20 tournament in Taupo this afternoon.
After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first, Wellington restricted Auckland to 156 off their 20 overs, Jed Wiggins and Alex Ridley the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/25 and 3/29 respectively off their four overs.
Wellington’s chase got off to a shaky start with Rakitha Weerasundara run out for just one before Nish Desai and Firebird Michael Pollard both fell in the first five overs to have Wellington reeling on 3/32.
From there Johnson (59*) and Gibson (66*) rebuilt Wellington’s innings, showcasing a range of powerful and precise hitting to lead Wellington to, what was in the end, a comfortable victory.
The win capped off a memorable tournament for Johnson who scored 236 runs at an average of 118 and a strike rate of 160 from just four innings, reaching 50 runs in all but one of his innings, including a memorable 90 not out against Central Districts.
Other highlights included Pat Smith’s 5-12 off 4 overs against Central District to decimate their run chase and the re-emergence of former Firebirds all-rounder Jamie Gibson.
The tournament, now in its third year, sees A teams from Auckland, Norther Districts, Central Districts and Wellington descend on Owen Delaney Park in a round robin plus final format.
The win completed Wellington’s 100% success rate at the tournament after they dispatched Auckland by 10 runs in their opening match before beating Central Districts A by 72 runs and Northern Districts A by four wickets earlier in the week.
Cricket Wellington pathway manager Chris Nevin said the tournament win showed just how strong the talent pathway in Wellington is becoming.
“We knew we had taken away a strong side and the results over the last couple of days are testament to how strong the talent within our pathway is.
“It’s great to have seen so many guys put their hands up at the tournament, especially with the Burger King Super Smash starting next week.”
Wellington A’s win continues a successful few days for Wellington cricket after Wellington College claimed their first Gillette Cup since 2001 in Lincoln over the weekend.
Attention will now shift to the Firebirds and Blaze as they begin their Burger King Super Smash campaigns with a double-header against the Northern Spirit and Knights in Hamilton on December 22.