The Aces have missed out on a spot in the grand final after losing to the Central Stags by 44 runs at Eden Park yesterday.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl, the Aces picked up two quick wickets in the second and third overs. However, those wickets didn’t stymie the Stags much, as Will Young and Tom Bruce put on a 50-run partnership going at 10-an-over.
All the Auckland bowlers found themselves getting hit to all parts. When Will Somerville dismissed Bruce for 35 off 19, Dane Cleaver came in and the Stags were able to keep going without faltering.
Nothing quite went right for the Aces. Balls dropped to the grass just over or in front of fielders, and tough chances went over the rope rather than going to hand. Cleaver hit five 6s in his innings of 77 not out, including both across the road and onto the Eden Park concourse.
When Mitchell McClenaghan’s last ball of the innings got out Young, he had made 83 off 54, and the Stags amassed a total of 219.
The Aces needed a big start to the innings. Colin Munro provided it at first, but a slower ball from Adam Milne and he was through his shot too early, caught for 33.
After that, Daniel Bell-Drummond (64) and Glenn Phillips (30) struggled to get the ball away at the required rate.
As the required run-rate grew, the Aces threw everything at the chase, and still nothing worked. They picked out fielders and couldn’t make boundaries. When the 20 overs were up, the Stags had won by 44 runs.
It was a hard end to a great Burger King Super Smash for the Aces, proving that once again anything can happen in T20 and in knockout games. They will have to switch gears quickly as they go back into Plunket Shield next week, the last home game of the 2018/19 season against Otago starts on Thursday.
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