The ACES will have to wait for a first Dream11 Super Smash win having lost to Northern Knights by 28 runs at Seddon Park tonight.
Knights openers Tim Seifert and Anton Devcich found the Seddon Park pitch to their liking early on. The pair raced out to 60/0 from the powerplay as the ACES searched for a breakthrough.
Debutant Ross ter Braak (2-23) was the best of the ACES bowlers and his two wickets slowed the Knights down through the middle overs.
The left-arm seamer finished with the wickets of both openers. Devcich (25) was first to go trying to drag a good length delivery to the on-side before ter Braak ended his day with the big wicket of Seifert, on 75.
Ronnie Hira backed it up with the wicket of Brett Hampton in the lead up to the death overs. With the help of some extras, Darryl Mitchell (28*) and Scott Kuggeleijn added 51 from 25 deliveries to lift the Knights to 195/5.
Martin Guptill and Colin Munro faced some challenging bowling as Devcich and Kuggeleijn conceded just 12 from the first two overs.
Just as the pair appeared to be getting used to a slowing Seddon Park wicket, Kuggeleijn found Guptill’s outside edge. By the end of the powerplay, the ACES had lost two more power-hitters. Munro caught up with Brett Randell’s delivery down the leg side before Glenn Phillip’s third ball flew to a wide first slip.
When Mark Chapman’s firm pull picked out Randell at mid-wicket, the ACES slipped into further trouble at 54/4. Corey Anderson and Craig Cachopa balanced caution with positivity, but the asking rate was getting away from the ACES.
As an attempt to get the rate under control, Anderson lined up Ish Sodhi’s second over, hitting a pair of sixes. The left-hander had no choice but to take Kuggeleijn on as well. The fast bowler’s back of a length delivery cramped Anderson for room and Seifert did the rest.
Needing 104 from eight overs, Cachopa (41) wasn’t going to give up without a fight, manipulating the ball into unprotected areas of the ground. Together with Sean Solia, the pair smashed 18 off Sodhi’s fourth over as the ACES took some momentum into the final five.
Kuggeleijn returned and, as he had done in his previous two overs, struck again with Cachopa picking out Hampton on the mid-wicket boundary. Solia (45) couldn’t afford to let up, using his long levers to power a six over deep square before a paddled four ended the 16th over.
Knights bowlers Randell and Anurag Verma bowled excellent 18th and 19th overs as the ACES chase was extinguished, eventually finishing on 167/8.
The ACES will be in action again on 28 December against the Central Stags at Pukekura Park.