Bracewell innings defining in many ways

Saturday, Jan 08 2022

Bracewell innings defining in many ways

Will Johnston

Photo: Wellington Firebirds captain Michael Bracewell celebrates after hitting the winnings runs in Saturday's Dream11 SuperSmash match at Pukekura Park. By John Velvin.

Wellington Firebirds captain Michael Bracewell’s innings at Pukekura Park on Saturday has never been seen before on New Zealand soil.  

The 30-year-old hammered 141 off 65 balls with 11 fours and 11 sixes in Wellington’s two wicket win against Central Stags in the Dream11 SuperSmash.

Not only did the innings win the match for the Firebirds, but it was also the highest individual score by any batsman in Twenty20 (T20) cricket in New Zealand. The knock surpasses Martin Guptill’s 120 not out against Canterbury in Rangiora during the 2011/12 season.

Chasing 227, Wellington finished on 228/8, which is the third highest total at Pukekura Park in the format. It was the second consecutive match the Stags posted a score over 200 at the venue.

It was a thrilling finish in front of 1,500 spectators with 17 needed off the last over to win in sweltering conditions.

Stags captain Tom Bruce put himself into bowl after Blair Tickner leaked an impressive seven runs off the penultimate over.

Bracewell smashed two sixes and a four to claim the team’s fourth win to leapfrog the Stags to outright third position.

Talking after the match, Bracewell told Spark Sport the Pukekura Park pitch was great for batting.  

“CD [Central Districts] certainly showed that with the bat, they put a pretty impressive total on there.”

He said the team lost wickets early, evident with their 43/5 score at one point in the game and said his knock was down to believing in himself.

“We kept up with the rate and you just got to try back yourself and take some runs at the back end there.

“You’re always ready to go out there and look to play positive, it was a really conducive run scoring field with the fast outfield and short boundaries,” he said.

Bracewell developed solid partnerships with Jamie Gibson (77), Logan van Beek (79) and said he could take the game deep.

“Those contributions are invaluable.”

Bruce said the match would have been entertaining for the spectators.

He said the bowling has been the same story over the past few matches with solid bowling to start the innings.

“We had enough runs on the board, we had the five down in the powerplay. It’s one in 100 you lose from there. It took a special knock from Michael Bracewell to get them home.”

Bruce said there were plenty of positives in the match with his own knock and also Josh Clarkson and Bayley Wiggins impressed with the bat.

Backing up their strong partnership in the last T20 game at the venue, Clarkson and Bruce contributed 104-runs together. This time it was Clarkson who scored a valiant 76 not out, while Bruce notched up 36 off 17 balls.

The Stags were on top in the match with Doug Bracewell claiming the wickets of Fin Allen and Troy Johnson in the first over of the run chase.

Expensive spells by the Stags bowlers provide costly in the end with Bracewell’s maiden T20 century.

Pukekura Park’s hoodoo continues at Pukekura Park with only four wins from the last 14 matches. Their last win was against Otago in January last year.

It’s also the Stags fourth consecutive time the team’s defended their score and lost.

They languish in fourth place and will need to win their next two matches against the Norther Brave and Auckland Aces for a play-off berth.

In the women’s match earlier, the Wellington Blaze beat the Central Hinds by five wickets.

It was Wellington’s Jess Kerr who bagged the Dream 11 Game Changer award with her 4/18 and 25 not out, chasing 123 for victory.

The Blaze remain unbeaten in the competition, while the Hinds remain with the solitary win.  

Click here for the full scorecards.