01 Jul, Friday

ACES fall short at the Basin


ACES fall short at the Basin

Praneel HiraAces

The Auckland ACES winning run came to an end in the Dream11 Super Smash final after the Wellington Firebirds fired up in the field.

Mitchell McClenaghan set the scene with a fiery first-up spell as the ACES left-armer nabbed both Michael Pollard and Rachin Ravindra in the powerplay.

Devon Conway, however, continued his consistent Super Smash campaign, adding another 49 runs to his competition tally. The Firebirds opener hit 5 fours before Craig Cachopa plucked a fantastic one-handed catch out of the air at cover.

The ACES fought back through the middle overs as the Firebirds lost 4-25 in the space of four overs. McClenaghan picked up his third wicket before Ronnie Hira, Colin Munro and Will Somerville all chimed in with a wicket apiece.

Just when the ACES threatened to bowl the Firebirds out, Michael Bracewell and Logan van Beek added 34 from the final three overs to lift the hosts to 168/7.

The ACES started brightly as Martin Guptill took 11 from the first over. Munro got in on the act flashing his first ball past point for four. The chase was on track after four overs with the ACES up with the rate at 33/0.

Munro was then adjudged to have feathered a good-length Hamish Bennett delivery through to the keeper and the Firebirds were on the board. Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman were unable to establish a partnership with Guptill and the pressure was again on the middle order.

Skipper Cachopa added some impetus to the chase with a reverse-swept four and a paddled six. Regular boundaries, however, escaped the ACES and the big overs never eventuated. van Beek added three wickets to his cameo with the bat to turn the match in the Firebirds’ favour.

The Firebirds bowled brilliantly and, towards the end, put on a fielding masterclass. First, Tom Blundell dove full-stretched to his right to dismiss Hira behind the stumps and then van Beek produced two twinkle-toed efforts on the mid-wicket boundary.

As the wickets tumbled, the equation was pushed out of reach and the Wellington faithful lapped up the final 12 balls. In the end, Ollie Newton bowled a tidy last over to seal victory for the Firebirds by 22 runs.