Jan 182013

Published: 7:43PM Friday January 18, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

The Wellington Firebirds have advanced to the HRV Cup final with a 23-run win over the Auckland Aces at the Basin Reserve tonight.

In what was an ultimately comfortable victory, the Firebirds will now eye Sunday’s final against an in-form Otago side with some confidence.

On a picture perfect day in the nation’s capital, Jesse Ryder (46 off 17 balls) and Michael Papps (70* off 48 balls) led Wellington through to a formidable 182 for four.

Ryder was particularly brutal, hitting seven fours and three sixes, and by the time he departed at the end of the third over, caught at deep backward square leg by import Aaron Finch off the bowling of Matt Quinn, Wellington incredibly already had 49 on the board.

Papps and Cameron Borgas (29 off 33 balls) then combined for a circumspect but crucial third-wicket partnership of 79 runs before Black Cap in waiting, Luke Ronchi (21 off 11 balls) finished off the innings.

In reply, the writing was on the wall for Auckland immediately when they lost influential opener Lou Vincent, LBW to Maleaesaili Tugaga, on the first ball of their innings.

Melbourne Renegades captain Finch, who was here for a one-off appearance and was last night named the Big Bash player of the season, chimed in with 44 off 30 balls and combined with Craig Cachopa (27 off 22 balls) for a 72-run third wicket partnership.

But when they both departed in quick succession, Auckland’s hopes of another Champions League berth slid off the rails as their innings stuttered through to 159 for eight.

Wellington’s spirits will be high going into Sunday’s final in Dunedin but they will know that they will need to lift their game up a level against a Volts side who have won nine in a row.

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