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Aces defeat Knights to book a place in the playoffs

The Auckland Aces pulled off a perfectly timed chase to chase down the Knights’ formidable 196/8. Colin Munro (54), Craig Cachopa (60) and Robbie O’Donnell (45*) were the standouts as the Aces moved to second on the table, confirmed their spot in the Burger King Super Smash finals and maintained their momentum against the first placed Knights.

After the Aces put the visitors in to bat, Nick Kelly (37) and Dean Brownlie (33) went on the attack hard from the start – quickly taking the run-rate to 12 an over.

The Aces pulled that back as Kelly, Brownlie and Brett Hampton all got out while adding just nine runs.

Daryl Mitchell (37) and Corey Anderson went on the counter-attack, before Munro got his second crucial wicket of the match when Roneel Hira caught Anderson for 36.

Despite Mitchell McClenaghan picking up a wicket, the Knights taking 14 from the last over from Mitchell McClenaghan to make it through to 196-8.

Colin Munro showed great concentration to play himself into form, scoring steadily before hitting out.

He then slammed the longest six of the match off Kyle Abbott, hitting the TV scaffold on the full. He brought up his 50 off 30 balls with a cracking drive through the covers for four.

Munro was joined by Craig Cachopa in the seventh over with the required rate above 10. They made close to the needed runs until Munro was caught by Brownlie off Scott Kuggeleijn at cover for 54.

From there, Cachopa and Robbie O’Donnell put together a partnership of 98 to reel in the big total. The pair ran singles hard, while hitting the boundary often enough the required rate never looked overwhelming.

The Knights tried to make the death overs as difficult as possible to get away. But they sent down more wides than they would have wanted. Mitchell conceded 12 from the 19th over, leaving six needed off the last.

Two more wides off the first two balls left Aces fans breathing slightly easier. Then Abbott bowled Cachopa for 60. It was Daniel Bell-Drummond who hit the winning boundary to get the Aces home and claim a six-wicket win.

Full scorecard here.

Image credit: Photosport.co.nz

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