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Wellington scramble into Twenty20 final

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/01/2017

Red-hot Wellington have inflicted yet another domestic Twenty20 playoff loss on Canterbury to book their place in the final against Central Districts.

In a tense elimination final at the Basin Reserve, the bowling of Hamish Bennett and Jeetan Patel proved the difference in the home team's three-wicket win.

Former Canterbury seamer Bennett took 3-18 while veteran spinner Patel (2-22) also completed four tight overs as Canterbury posted 151-7.

After coasting to 103-1 in quick time, Wellington lost their way and eventually limped to 155-7 with four balls to spare.

It is the third time in the past four seasons Canterbury have lost at the penultimate stage. Their lone title remains the inaugural championship in 2005-06.

Wellington will chase a second crown while top qualifiers Central Districts are seeking a third in Saturday's final at New Plymouth.

Both teams are on a roll, with Wellington having bounced back splendidly from losing their first four games.

The veterans in their side have led the way, including openers Michael Papps and Hamish Marshall, who scored 45 and 36 respectively on Thursday.

Canterbury legspinner Todd Astle (3-18) removed them both and, following a mini-collapse, it was up to Luke Woodcock to seal victory in the final over, smacking the first two balls from Logan van Beek for four.

Canterbury, who beat Wellington in their two earlier meetings, missed leading wicket-taker Ed Nuttall. The seamer suffered a serious shoulder injury earlier in the week.

Opener Chad Bowes scored a lively 56 for the visitors and received support from Henry Nicholls (34) and Peter Fulton (33).

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