• Sat. Sep 3rd, 2022

‘Words can’t describe how good he is’: captain hails Conway’s magical matchwinning innings.

Feb 13, 2021

A big Basin Reserve crowd rose to one of their favourite adopted sons, as Devon Conways run gorge continued for Wellington Firebirds who secured back to back mens Twenty20 Super Smash titles on Saturday.
The South African export, gratefully received by the Black Caps who will include him on Sunday to take on Australia, again showed his class and cool head to guide Wellington home by five wickets over Canterbury Kings in the final, before a hefty summer crowd of 5545.
Chasing 176, Conway seized the reins after the early loss of player of the tournament Finn Allen, scoring 93 not out off 63 balls in a masterful knock, rated by skipper Michael Bracewell as the best he’d witnessed.
MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT
Victory! Devon Conway hits the winning runs off Will Williams in the final over of the Super Smash mens final.
Ive never seen anything like it. Hes played some exceptional knocks for us and I would say thats No 1, even his 300 that he scored out here [against Canterbury] is right up there with that 93 not out in a final, Bracewell said.
READ MORE:* Men’s Super Smash grand final live Wellington Firebirds v Canterbury Kings* ‘It’s like he’s batting in a video game’: Fearsome Finn Allen on Black Caps fast track* Hamish Bennett eyes back to back titles against former team-mates, Black Caps lifeline* Super Smash: Canterbury Kings edge Central Stags in last-over elimination final thriller
Words cant describe how good he is, in those pressure moments he keeps standing up. Its great to see him playing international cricket because thats where he belongs, but well keep using him as long as we can in the domestic game.
The Kings fought hard and the hosts still needed 21 off the final two overs, but with key assistance from Jamie Gibson, Conway crunched successive boundaries off Matt Henry. With six needed off Will Williams, a thick edge to the rope was enough as Conway leapt and punched the air, his team home with two balls to spare.
The Firebirds star hit 11 fours and a six, his fifth half-century of another prolific season as he finished second to Allen on the charts with 455 runs at 65.
It was a third T20 title for the Firebirds in five years as they matched their home final victory over Auckland a year ago.
MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT
Captain Michael Bracewell and the Firebirds celebrate back to back men’s Super Smash titles at the Basin Reserve.
For the Kings, dominant in the other formats this season, the wait continues for a T20 title having last won it in 2006 with a team including Brendon McCullum, Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns and Shane Bond.
Needing a tick under nine an over the Firebirds flew out of the blocks, with some hiccups. Allen clouted Henry for back to back fours before cracking the favourite taped-up bat that brought him 512 runs at 57, and strike rate of 194.
Kings skipper Cole McConchies arrival with his offspin, and the change of willow brought Allen undone as he spooned a catch on 16 and one dangerman was gone.
When Chad Bowes snared a ripper to remove Tom Blundell, second ball, the Kings were flying but the promoted Troy Johnson charged, and his towering six off McConchie had them 61-2 after the six-over powerplay.
MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT
Firebirds opener Devon Conway hit 11 fours and six in his matchwinning innings.
Johnsons attack (28 off 15) was the foil Conway needed as he paced his innings superbly, hitting sweetly through the off side and top-edging one for six as he cruised to 50 off 31 balls, the Firebirds hopes again resting with last seasons top runscorer who rarely looked like faltering.
Allrounder Daryl Mitchell was a key absentee from the bowling crease, firing down just one over then appearing to injure himself in the field.
The average bat-first total in five Firebirds home matches this season was 163, so the Kings were about par and in the contest at 175-8.
On a new pitch with some pace they got a rapid start via Bowes (37 off 23) and Mitchell (35 off 24) who blazed them to victory over the Stags on Thursday.
After key pacemen Hamish Bennett and Ben Sears were collared early, spin did the trick for the Firebirds who hauled it back, fielded well and held some cracking catches.
MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT
Firebirds spinner Peter Younghusband celebrates the wicket of Chad Bowes.
Legspinner Peter Younghusband (2-25 off three) removed Bowes then took the big wicket of Mitchell to a wonderful, low Conway outfield catch.
Then Bracewells golden arm struck again with successive wickets in his first over; Leo Carter then Cam Fletcher first ball, caught and bowled.
McConchie (44 off 39) boosted his side to a decent score before former Cantab Logan van Beek struck late, ending with 3-28 to set up a tense chase.
Mens Twenty20 Super Smash final at Basin Reserve, Wellington: Canterbury Kings 175-8 off 20 overs (Cole McConchie 44, Chad Bowes 37, Daryl Mitchell 35; Logan van Beek 3-28, Michael Bracewell 2-3, Peter Younghusband 2-25) lost to Wellington Firebirds 178-5 off 19.4 overs (Devon Conway 93no, Troy Johnson 28; Ed Nuttall 2-32) by 5 wickets.