Ford Trophy 2016-17: Pressure on as tournament reaches halfway mark

Injury-plagued defending champions the Central Stags have suffered another blow to their bowling stocks ahead of a crunch round four clash with the top of the table Auckland Aces at Eden Park Outer Oval on Wednesday. The Stags have lost experienced seamer Seth Rance to a calf strain, ushering uncapped Liam Dudding in to open the attack on white-ball debut as Ford Trophy reaches its midway point. Batsman Ben Smith will carry the drinks in Auckland with Navin Patel getting his second Ford Trophy start in the Stags’ attack. Martin Guptill makes his return at the top of the order for the Auckland Aces who will be batting first after Stags captain Will Young won the toss and put them in in overcast conditions; Ben Horne carries the drinks for the hosts. George Worker is making his 50th List A appearance.

AUCKLAND ACES: Martin Guptill, Glenn Phillips, Sean Solia, Mark Chapman, Robbie O Donnell, Rob Nicol (c), Michael Barry, Donovan Grobbelaar, Tarun Nethula, Lockie Ferguson, Raja Sandhu. 12th: Ben Horne.

CENTRAL STAGS: Will Young (c), George Worker, Jesse Ryder, Tom Bruce, Dane Cleaver (w), Kieran Noema-Barnett (overseas player), Josh Clarkson, Ajaz Patel, Navin Patel, Blair Tickner, Liam Dudding. 12th: Ben Smith.

Northern Districts v Otago Volts at Whangarei’s Cobham Oval

Jimmy Neesham s bottom-placed Otago Volts are looking for their first win in Ford Trophy 2017 (now the only side yet to have a win) and have put Dean Brownlie s Northern Districts into bat after winning the toss. South African-born Netherlands international Michael Rippon is on List A debut for the Volts (the left-arm spinner has 27 previous List A appearances for other teams). Ford Trophy 2016-17: Round 2 gets underway

NORTHERN DISTRICTS: Dean Brownlie (c), Corey Anderson, Jono Boult, Zak Gibson, Brett Hampton, Nick Kelly, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Bharat Popli, Tim Seifert (w), Ish Sodhi. 12th: Brett Randell.

OTAGO VOLTS: Jimmy Neesham (c), Michael Rippon (overseas player), Brad Wilson, Neil Broom, Ryan Duffy, Michael Bracewell, Anaru Kitchen, Derek de Boorder, Christi Viljoen, Nathan Smith, Jack Hunter, 12th: Gregor Croudis.

Wellington Firebirds v Canterbury at the Basin Reserve, Wellington

Meanwhile weather is again not playing ball at the Basin Reserve where the Wellington Firebirds are hosting Canterbury; rain has delayed the start with the toss yet to be made.

WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS: From: Hamish Marshall (c), Scott Borthwick (overseas player), Tom Blundell (wk), Iain McPeake, Michael Papps, Matt Taylor, Brent Arnel, Luke Woodcock, Michael Pollard, Hamish Bennett, Jeetan Patel, Anurag Verma.

CANTERBURY: From: Peter Fulton (c), Todd Astle, Chad Bowes, Jack Boyle, Harry Chamberlain, Cameron Fletcher, Matt Henry, Tim Johnston, Cole McConchie, Henry Shipley, Logan van Beek, Will Williams.

Official hashtag #FordTrophy